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How to Make Your Cremation Wishes Known January 30, 2018

Trying to find out if someone prepaid for funeral or cremation services can be stressful, especially if they are no longer able to tell you. 

Maybe they can’t tell you because of a recent illness, injury, or due to the gradual loss of their memory.  Sometimes, people even pass away without telling their family where to find the paperwork.  

The best way to make your cremation wishes known is in writing.

Many people make pre-arrangements and prepay in advance for their funeral and burial or cremation.  If you prepaid for funeral or cremation services, take time to organize your files now so that finding important documents will be a little less stressful for you and your loved ones. 

After you organize your files, let a close friend or family member know where your pre-need funeral plan is kept.  In the process of organizing your files, you can also reduce the clutter that may or may not be overtaking your files.  

The last thing someone needs, especially after losing a loved one, is spending countless hours huddled over paperwork trying to find prepaid funeral plans and life insurance policies.  

There are important practical reasons to consider when undertaking the task of organizing your files.  A few minutes of organization can save valuable time for your loved ones if they need to locate a specific file or document. 

For example, do you have life insurance?  Where are your insurance policies?  If your spouse or a child needed to access information regarding these policies, would they be able to find it? 

For most of us, the answer is no.  More often than not, information regarding these policies is not discussed comprehensively with family members, but kept to ourselves. 

Though you may know the inner workings of your family’s finances, if something were to happen that would require your spouse or loved one to need this information, they would be left on their own trying to sort it all out.  

Are you a veteran?  If so, would your spouse or a child know where to find your military records?  

To prevent the stress of digging around trying to locate a specific document, take time now to organize your files.  It will save you and your family a lot of unnecessary aggravation in the long run.  Without access to all of these important documents, some types of benefits can go unclaimed.  

For example, you may be aware that if your loved one is a veteran, then they are entitled to certain burial benefits.  What many people do not realize is that in order to receive these benefits they must provide copies of discharge papers, which are often hidden away in a file and forgotten about. 

The same issue applies to insurance policies.  If your family is in need of funds to take care of funeral arrangements, the last thing they need to be worried about is finding the proper paperwork to get the process started.  

If your family cannot locate all of your policies, unclaimed insurance benefits can be turned over to the state simply because your family is unaware that they exist.

Another example is funeral pre-arrangements.  In the case of an unexpected death, it can be a burden for your family to have to locate funeral plans that specify your wishes after you are gone. These types of arrangements are a great way to ensure that your wishes are met, while eliminating the need for your loved ones to worry about them.  However, they will not do any good if your family is unable to find them. 

An easy way to start is by organizing documents based on priority.  Items that need immediate attention, such as bills due, can go into one file.  

You could have separate files for insurance policies, funeral plans, military records, 401k/retirement benefits, bank accounts, investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds), deeds/mortgages for real estate holdings, automobile titles, and tax returns.  

Though the task seems daunting, a little bit of organization can make a huge difference in the long run.

A portable filing system is a great way to ensure that all of your important documents remain in one easy to locate place.  Through a little bit of extra diligence, you can rest easier by reducing the burden on your family should they have to find a specific document in a time of need.