Let's be honest. Most of us think about burial planning on an as needed basis. Death has that stigma of uneasiness or not being the topic of choice for the annual company picnic. But, consider this…many employers offer some type of pension, 401K or other retirement plan, right?
Circles of friends and family members often compare IRA plans, and some take it a step further by dreaming out loud about glorious daily golfing during retirement. At this point in the conversation, why not mention burial options? If Aunt Rita, that sprightly 79-year-old, is set on cremation services but hasn't gotten around to telling anyone, how will they ever know her wishes? They won't.
Since discussing burial arrangements can be awkward at first, we've compiled a list of terms and links for assistance. Repetition rids the anxiety, so practice (like baby steps) by chatting with friends first before bringing it up with Aunt Rita.
Advanced Directive - also referred to as a living will, it is a legal document for medical purposes should an individual become incapacitated; Mayo Clinic
Cremains—the ashes of someone who has been cremated
Estate Planning - getting those ducks in a row by preplanning regarding inheritance, charitable donations, long-term provisions for family members or those with special needs; EstatePlanning.com
Ethical Will - this is not a legal document to distribute wealth, rather it allows the individual to leave a legacy of wisdom, values, and feelings; Barrons.com
Hospice - end of life care including palliative care; Hospice Foundation
Palliative care - the treatment of discomfort, symptoms, and stress of life-threatening or serious illness (intended for any stage of illness); National Hospice and Palliative Care
Prepaid burial - locking in costs now and paying over time, if needed, rather than 15-20 years later when rates increase
Nursing Home Compare - a U. S. Federal Government sponsored website comparing all participating Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes; Medicare.gov
Will - also known as a Last Will and Testament. To learn how to write your own will, check out USA.gov