As a family service counselor at Guardian Angel Cemetery in Rochester, I met with a young mother yesterday who was making arrangements for her mother who recently passed away. She was overwhelmed with all the decisions and arrangements she had to make in a short period of time.
The comment from her that I’d like to share with you is : “This should have been done already”.
When I first received the call from “Amber” in her early 20s, her mom was very sick and in a local hospice. She was calling area cemeteries to get pricing. Her mom did mention to her that if something ever happened to her she wanted to be at Guardian Angel.
As our conversation continued, she mentioned a trust attorney. This set off a light bulb and I told her that it’s important to speak to the attorney to find out what her mom’s assets were and any burial arrangements she may have made.
Amber is not alone. Pre-planning your burial arrangements is something that everyone should consider, much like developing an estate plan. It allows individuals to have a say in how they prefer to be memorialized while saving loved ones from stress and indecision during an emotional time.
Many times children are left paying this expense out of pocket and are working with a limited budget. They don’t know if any funds are available from a parent or loved one while they are determining how to pay for all the burial expenses. In the case of Amber, being left with the responsibility to make arrangements during her mother’s final days gave her less time to spend visiting and comforting her mother.
Her mom passed away shortly after she met with me, and her next appointment was with the funeral home. It seemed that the circumstances necessitated rushing through the process of securing a death certificate so she would have access to her mother’s accounts. However, they wanted to have the service in three days and weren’t sure if this was going to happen because of the need to transfer funds and the waiting period that it would require.
Simultaneously Amber was trying to make luncheon arrangements for a day she wasn’t even sure was going to happen because she may not have access to any monies in time.
I can’t stress enough to talk to your parents or spouses now before you have to go through such a difficult period. There are Emergency Record Guides to help families through this process. By reviewing the guide and planning now, you will be better prepared for future planning for your parents or loved ones helping to eliminate some stress during an already trying time.