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Insuring That Your Funeral Goes According to Plan

Front JonDavis Insuring That Your Funeral Goes According to Plan

Jon Davis, who owns the Clinical Training Institute and the Quality Life Insurance Agency in Oxnard, talks with the Tri County Sentry about making advance preparations for your funeral. (Photo Credit: Tim Pompey)

By Tim Pompey

Death is never pleasant to think about, but for the sake of friends and family, some advance planning could save them a lot of heartache and stress. After all, they’re the ones who deal with the aftermath. Things such as estate settlement, funeral expenses, and enough money to settle a host of bills while you are being laid to rest.

Since death is never convenient, everyone who thinks about this realizes they’re up against a ticking clock and the risk of the unexpected. So, young or old, no one has a guarantee of tomorrow. The question is what to do about it…today.

One large resource is right at your fingertips. The Internet. For instance, a couple of websites provide some good general information about preplanned funeral arrangements. Here’s a sample:  www.wikihow.com/Make-Preparations-for-a-Funeralwww.caregiverslibrary.org/portals/0/checklistsandforms_funeralplanningchecklist.pdf, and www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/pros-and-cons-of-funeral-trusts-1.aspx.

Local insurance agent Jon Davis discovered an alternative a couple of years ago when he came across a funeral plan called Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage (www.lhlic.com/pages/about-fa.html). LHFA offers a life insurance plan with a combination consumer advocate guardian, meaning that a person with an LHFA policy will have a personal advocate who assists the family during funeral arrangements. “Basically, their niche is that they work with an organization called Funeral Guardian Society,” said Davis. “When you have a Funeral Advantage policy with Lincoln Heritage, you also have the representative from FGS who helps work with the family to plan the final expense and/or funeral.”

For Davis, who owns both the Clinical Training Institute and the Quality Life Insurance Agency in Oxnard, the appeal of this type of plan is the personal attention it offers to the family dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death. “It provides an opportunity for the insured to plan everything in advance, and they do this planning with a rep from Funeral Guardian Society.”

What a plan like LHFA may also offer is the luxury of time. Rather than waiting for an estate settlement and having to cobble enough cash together to cover funeral costs, LHFA allows the process and payment of funeral costs to be immediate. “With this plan,” said Davis, “within 24 hours, a representative will come in. When the designated family member calls the rep, they’ll follow the deceased’s plan to the T.”
The plan itself is a whole life policy with a cash reserve, double indemnity, and a rider to add a child up to age 18. Because it involves a cash reserve rather than advance paid funeral arrangements, LHFA is not locked into any particular cemetery or funeral home. “You tell them what you want and they will look for the best program within the area,” Davis explained, “and it will all be done within 24 hours. You don’t have to worry about a time period waiting for your money to arrive.”

Like any standard insurance policy, there are some caveats. For instance, in the case of serious health concerns such as cancer or being diagnosed as HIV positive, some people may not qualify for this plan. Premiums will also depend on your age and life variables such as smoking or other risk factors.

Forethought is the most important tool a person can use when thinking about their life, death, funeral arrangements, and estate planning. Having a living will is considered one essential element. Organizing your documents—life insurance, wills, social security information—so they can be easily accessed is another. Writing out your obituary and funeral service is a third and quite helpful detail.

But the most important thing the living can accomplish is to do their own due diligence on funeral planning. The goal is to allow the legal and financial aftermath following death to be arranged so that friends and family can focus on what’s really important at a funeral—memorializing your life.

For Davis, it’s important to make a plan while time is still on the side of the living. “When a person has all their mental faculties and they can think about it, that’s the best time to do it,” he said.

For more information about LHFA, Davis can be reached at (805) 217-2301. There’s no fee for a consultation. Davis also offers a complete review of current life insurance needs as part of the consultation.

As always, shop around, do research, and find out what’s best for your personal needs. But most important, do something now to make your death and funeral easy to manage. Your friends and family will thank you long after you’ve been laid to rest.

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