Many bereaved families find it difficult to make decisions immediately in the wake of a loved one’s death. Prepaid cremation can help you solidify arrangements in advance, giving loved ones peace in knowing that things are taken care of.
John Maher: Hey I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Rebekah Peoples, a licensed funeral director with Boston Cremation. Today we’re talking about prepaid cremation and planning ahead. Welcome, Rebekah.
Rebekah Peoples: Hey, thanks John.
Benefits of Prepaid Cremation
John: Rebekah, why should I consider a prepaid cremation when I’m making cremation arrangements prior to my death or the death of a family member or a friend?
Rebekah: There are a lot of advantages to pre-planning, whether you’re going to pay or whether you’re not going to pay. There are advantages about planning ahead of time. The biggest advantage of that is that you ensure that your wishes are going to be followed. A lot of times, people will call us about wanting to pre-plan and they’ll say, “I just want to make sure that things are done the way I want them”, or “my kids don’t want to deal with this”, or just thinking that they want to be sure that they aren’t leaving a burden to their family to have to make the arrangements or having to pay for their funeral. That’s one of the biggest things.
Problems That Prepaid Cremation Can Solve
John: All right, what are some of the other problems that a prepaid cremation can solve?
Rebekah: Yes, first of all is that nobody else is going to have to pay for it, the arrangements are already paid for.
John: Because that can be a burden on the family when somebody has passed away, especially if somebody has passed away suddenly and they weren’t expecting it. It’s not like they were putting away savings for this or anything like that. All of a sudden, they have to foot the bill for a cremation and a funeral arrangement, etc. and that could be a burden on people.
Rebekah: Yes, [that is] one of the biggest things I tell people when they prepay or even pre-plan for their arrangements, because they’ll say as they are leaving, “Okay so, what do I need to do?” It’s so nice to be able to tell them, “Everything is taken care of. You made sure that nobody is going to have to do anything at the time of your passing, that the only thing they’re going to have to do is just call to let us know.”
Then everything has already been arranged from that point on, and they don’t have any decisions to make. If the person has prepaid, they don’t have to worry about anything that has to do with that. Everything is taken care of [and] there are no decisions to make, no wondering if you’re doing the right thing. “Is this what mom would have wanted?” Everything is already taken care of.
John: The “is this what mom would have wanted?” thing must come up as well, especially when you have multiple kids in a family and they are trying to make the arrangements for their mom or their dad. If their mom or their dad didn’t leave any specific instructions on what they want done after they pass, that can cause some fighting and things like that in families. This would help to solve that issue.
Rebekah: Yes, it definitely would and you brought up a real good point there John, because in situations where, [for example], there are an equal number of children. Say there are four kids and two of them say mom wanted to be cremated, and two of them say [they] don’t want mom to be cremated.
John: It’s like a vote and all of a sudden you’re already at an impasse, and there is two against two.
Rebekah: Sadly, at times the drastic cases become a legal issue, where the law has to get involved. In a case where the person has already pre-planned, there’s no question. This person pre-planned their cremation even signed for their own cremation, because that is legal in the state of Massachusetts. There is no question and everything is documented in writing. We do make sure we get signatures, so there is no question about what the person’s wishes were.
Other Issues That May Arise Without Prepaid Cremation
John: Are there other problems that you sometimes see arise when somebody doesn’t pre-plan their cremation?
Rebekah: No, probably the biggest one is just making sure that they’re doing the right thing. That brings up the other issue of, if you do pre-plan, whether you do it online, which you can do on our website, or whether you print out our forms, or whether you call us and we send you information. The biggest thing is just to tell somebody in your family that you’ve done that.
Because if you do this and we send you documentation that clearly states that this is what you have arranged for, and this is what we have in our file, you need to make sure that somebody in your family knows. If you put it in a shoebox somewhere, and then when you pass [and] nobody knows that it’s there, your wishes can’t be honored at that time without somebody in the family knowing.
John: You might have actually prepaid for this cremation and nobody knows about it, and then they end up going and paying again for a funeral, or something like that because they had no idea that you had this all done.
Rebekah: Yes, that’s right and I don’t know how that would ever be found out except down the road as I said, if you go back to my shoebox example, [it could be found] maybe months later when they are going through boxes of things and find that.
John: That would be disappointing in that case, because you would be like, “A, I paid all of this money and I didn’t have to, but B, maybe I didn’t honor my mom or dad’s wishes of how they wanted to be dealt with after their passing” and that would be disappointing as well.
John: As you do this prepaid cremation or pre-planning, make sure that you tell your family that you’ve done that, so they’re aware of what your wishes are and aware of the financial situation, etc.
Rebekah: That’s right, and frequently, people will tell us that and so when we send paperwork back, it just outlines what we’ve discussed, what we have on file, or what you’ve prepaid for. We’ll enclose additional copies that you can give to someone in your family or you can give a copy to your children.
John: That’s a great idea. That’s really interesting information, Rebekah. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Rebekah: Oh, you’re welcome. Thanks, John.
John: For more information, you can visit BostonCremation.org or call 781-322-0909.