Pre-Need Burial Plans
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For more than 25 years, Pre-Need Family Services has been providing thousands of families across the beautiful state of Pennsylvania with prepaid burial plans and pre-need cremation services. Our traditional burial plans are available for as low as $50 per month. Whether you need a casket, vault, or memorial, Pre-Need Family Services is committed to finding you an affordable monthly plan.
Funeral Costs Continue to Rise
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with burial in 2014 was $7,181. This includes the following expenses:
- Basic funeral services fee
- Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home
- Embalming and other preparation of the body
- Metal casket
- Use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony
- Hearse and service car or van
- Basic memorial printed package with a register book and personalized memorial cards
With a burial vault, which is often required by the cemetery, the median cost rises to $8,508. This is a 29.3% increase over the past decade, which is quite a bit higher than inflation. Costs are expected to rise at a similar rate into the foreseeable future, making it prudent to plan ahead for your final expenses.
Remember, the median cost is the middle cost for a purchase. Half of all funerals cost more than $8,508. You should also keep in mind that the National Funeral Directors Association’s figures only include the costs you pay to the funeral home. They don’t include expenses such as the cemetery plot and headstone or grave marker, since these costs are paid to someone other than the funeral director. The cost of flowers and other funeral decorations is also omitted.
Why Should You Consider Pre-Need Family Services?
Prepaid burial plans grow in popularity each year. Since 1988, Pre-Need Family Services has been helping Pennsylvania residents prepare to cover their final expenses. We serve residents of Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill, and York counties — offering the most flexible prepaid funeral plans in the state.
Advantages of prepaid burials for Pennsylvania residents include:
- Reducing the financial burden on your loved ones
- Providing peace of mind during an emotionally charged time
- Making sure your final wishes are respected
- Lowering your net worth
- Guarding against inflation
Reducing the Financial Burden on Your Loved Ones
Prepaid or pre-need burials are designed to ensure that funeral expenses are taken care of before your death. This allows you to rest easier knowing that your loved ones won’t be struggling to pay for your burial at a time when they’re overcome by grief.
The cost of a funeral seems astronomical when you consider that 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account and 21% don’t have a savings account. If your loved ones are living paycheck to paycheck, it’s unreasonable to expect them to be able to come up with such a huge sum at once. It’s likely that they’d be forced to rely on credit cards or to empty their own retirement funds to covers this expense.
The Funeral Consumers Alliance points out there is no charitable organization that will pay off debt for a funeral, nor are funeral homes required to allow family members to pay for a loved one’s burial in installments. When the money is needed, it’s often needed on very short notice.
Providing Peace of Mind During an Emotionally Charged Time
In addition to reducing the financial burden on your loved ones, a pre-need burial plan allows them peace of mind during what is sure to be an emotionally charged time. Instead of worrying about how to respect your final wishes, your family members or close friends can rest easy knowing that your funeral arrangements are in order. All they need to do is attend the service and focus on supporting each other as they heal from their loss.
Here’s what customers of Pre-Need Family Services have to say about the benefits of prepaid burial plans:
- “If people could only realize how much stress at the time of death in the family can be avoided by pre-planning, as Art and I did – before the final curtain of separation. My children were very grateful. Thank you for your many courtesies and consideration.” ~ Dorothy K., wife of Arthur K.
Making Sure Your Final Wishes Are Respected
Talking about death makes many of us deeply uncomfortable, which is why families often avoid the topic all together. Unfortunately, avoiding the issue only makes the process more difficult when a loved one pass on. When it comes time to make funeral decisions, survivors often find they don’t know some of their loved ones’ most basic wishes. In some cases, family members aren’t even sure whether a loved one would prefer burial or a cremation.
Planning a funeral is a significant undertaking. There’s a long list of decisions to be made, from choosing a casket and ordering a headstone to planning a memorial service with special readings and music. Since all of this needs to be done quickly, those in charge of funeral planning are forced to make snap decisions in a time of emotional vulnerability. Their choices aren’t necessarily going to be the ones you’d make on your own behalf.
With pre-need burials, your wishes are clearly spelled out, so there is no confusion or misunderstandings. Your funeral will proceed exactly as you imagined.
Lowering Your Net Worth
Although you could simply put aside money to be used for your final expenses when the time comes, pre-need burial services help shelter your assets from Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) qualifications.
Pre-Need Family Services uses an Irrevocable Trust to manage funeral expenses. An Irrevocable Trust is a trust that can’t be taken away for any reason and is not counted as income, even if you need to enter a nursing home. The money is managed in accordance with trusting procedures and both state and federal laws to provide maximum levels of consumer protection.
Guarding Against Inflation
Pre-need burial services are less expensive than need-based funerals because prepayment locks in current prices, thus guarding against inflation. The earlier you plan your funeral, the more money you save.
Pre-Need Burial Services vs. Final Expense Insurance
Pre-need burial services should not be confused with financial expense insurance or burial insurance. Insurance policies have a specified value, with instructions that state the money is to be used to carry out your wishes regarding your funeral services. The beneficiary is generally a family member or trusted friend.
There are a few significant drawbacks to burial insurance in Pennsylvania. For example:
- The beneficiary can use the money in any way they want. They are not legally obligated to carry out your wishes, so you must choose a beneficiary you trust completely.
- If the cost of your funeral is less than the burial insurance payout, the beneficiary has the right to keep the remaining funds. This provides an incentive for someone who is struggling financially to cut corners in order to gain access to the funds.
- Burial insurance policies waive medical exams, which sounds like a good deal until you consider that their premiums can be up to 20 times the price of a fully underwritten term life policy.
- Burial insurance policies are often subject to contestability and suicide clauses that allow an insurer to fight the claim. This means your loved ones may end up having to pay for your funeral expenses in full even if you paid all your premiums on time.
What Does Pre-Need Burial Plan Involve?
Obviously, no two people are alike. While some people desire an elaborate celebration of their life, others envision a modest burial attended only by close family and friends. Pre-Need Family Services employs a team of professional pre-need specialists to help clients explore their prepaid burial options. This includes everything from selecting a casket and burial vault to purchasing a cemetery plot and headstone or grave marker.
Choosing a Casket
A casket is often the single most expensive item you’ll buy if you plan a “traditional” full-service funeral. Mahogany, bronze or copper caskets can easily top $10,000, and a simple stainless steel casket is typically $2,000 or more.
Caskets vary widely in style and price, and those who choose cremation have a variety of urn styles to choose from. Metal caskets are the most popular choice and can include:
- Bronze caskets
- Copper caskets
- Stainless steel caskets
- Steel caskets
Types of hardwood caskets include:
- Mahogany caskets
- Walnut caskets
- Cherry caskets
- Maple caskets
- Oak caskets
- Ash caskets
- Poplar caskets
- Pine caskets
- Wood veneer caskets
Fiberglass caskets come in a variety of finishes including:
- Faux marble
- Faux woodgrain
The corners of a casket often have ornamental touches, which are described as a classical urn, rounded corner, and square corner. The interiors are generally made from velvet or crepe.
Pre-Need Family Services takes great pride in making a traditional burial more affordable with our prepaid burial plans. We have a beautiful selection of high quality and reasonably priced caskets to match your need. All of our caskets are proudly made in the U.S.A. and are from guaranteed casket lines ensuring the casket you select today will be the casket model we deliver years from now. No matter what type of casket design you prefer, we’ll work with you to choose a model that is perfect for your needs.
Selecting a Burial Vault
With a traditional burial, the casket is placed into a vault which lines the grave. The vault will keep the ground from sinking so that the cemetery can maintain a manicured appearance. Although a burial vault is not required under Pennsylvania law, it’s common for cemeteries to require a vault as a condition of burial on their property. A cemetery can refuse to accept a casket that does not have an accompanying burial vault.
Vaults were originally made of wood, but today concrete is the most common vault material. Sometimes, they are lined on the inside with bronze, copper, fiberglass, or stainless steel. The outside may be inscribed with images or words.
You want the best protection and prepaid burial plan available in Pennsylvania. Years after you select a quality reinforced burial vault, you’ll know that you made the right decision by choosing the highest level of protection.
Purchasing a Cemetery Plot and Headstone
When purchasing a cemetery plot or headstone, you should consider if you wish to be buried next to a spouse or in a family plot. You must also ask if you desire a specific location that will allow your loved ones to easily visit your grave.
Some commercial cemeteries provide free plots for veterans of the United States military, but charge large fees for a spouse to be buried in the adjoining plot. If you are a veteran, evaluate the bottom-line cost of these offers carefully to ensure that you are actually saving money. Pre-Need Family Services is well versed in meeting the needs of veterans and can offer plans that include a gravesite in any of the 128 national cemeteries with available space, a government headstone or marker, and a burial flag.
Once you’ve decided where you wish to purchase a cemetery plot in Pennsylvania, you’ll need to select a headstone or grave marker. Cemeteries often have specific regulations about the size, dimension, and type of headstones or grave markers they will allow. For example, some cemeteries do not allow headstones with attached vases while others specify that you must have a flat marker to make it easier for the maintenance staff to handle the cemetery’s landscaping needs.
Cemeteries have the right to refuse installation of headstones and grave markers that do not meet their requirements, so making sure you understand the rules is critical. Headstones and grave markers are not returnable, which means purchasing an unusable product could prove to be a costly mistake.
Other Factors to Consider
Other factors to be considered as part of the funeral planning process include:
- Do you wish to have a viewing, wake, visitation, reception, or mourning events that are specific to your faith?
- Do you have a location preference? If that location is not available, what is your second choice?
- Who would you prefer to serve as your officiant? If he or she is not available, who is your alternative choice?
- Who would you like to serve as pallbearers?
- Who should deliver prayers, poems, or other readings? Are there specific readings you want to have included in the service?
- Who should deliver eulogies? Is there a specific tone you’d like the eulogy to take or any topics you want the speaker to discuss?
- Do you have specific songs, hymns, or pieces of music you want to have played? Would you like a friend or family member to perform a musical selection in your honor?
- What types of flowers and decorations would you like?
- How do you feel about the trend of giving charitable donations in lieu of funeral flowers? If this something you’d like done in your honor, what charity do you want mourners to support?
- Who needs to be notified and invited to your funeral service? Develop a contact list of people in your life whom your close family may not know to ensure that they do not miss the event.
There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions. Pre-need planning is a deeply personal decision, so feel free to contemplate your options for as long as you feel is necessary.
Is It Affordable?
If you’re on a fixed income, you might be wondering if pre-need burials in Pennsylvania are affordable. Pre-Need Family Services does not require a credit check and works within your budget to make payments as financially affordable as possible.
We believe that everyone deserves a chance to give their loved one a proper goodbye. That’s why our plans start at less than $50 per month. This makes prepaid burials a viable option for anyone who is concerned about taking care of their final arrangements.
Contact Us to Get Started
There’s no specific time in which to plan a pre-need funeral. However, many people choose to make arrangements after a life changing event such as a marriage, retirement, serious health crisis, or when they enter a care facility. It’s also quite common for pre-need services to be purchased when a will is created.
Pre-Need Family Services can help carefully and compassionately guide you to make a disposition decision that is best for you and your family. Whether it be a pre-need traditional burial or a pre-need cremation option, we are here to serve you and your family.
Contact us today and speak to a professional pre-need specialist. There is no obligation to explore your prepaid burial options. Pre-Need Family Services is available to help your family when they need us most!