Planning Your Own Funeral

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Oct 29 2018 08:24 AM | Updated as of Oct 29 2018 11:11 AM

Filipinos offer flowers and candles to honor the dead at a cemetery in Manila. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- November 1 is just around the corner, and as the case year after year, we can expect millions of Filipinos to spend the long weekend paying their respects and remembering loved ones at cemeteries around the country. 

To some, it will be a short commute or a walk to the nearest memorial park, while for others, it will take more planning and may require a trip to their home province via plane, boat or ship, or a long drive.

Whenever I find myself in cemeteries around this time, it takes me back to when my father passed away unexpectedly. He was too young, only in his forties, and had made no plans for his death. That was unlike him, who always made sure to take care of our small family of four. 

It was not an easy time, made worse by the too many details one had to attend to around planning a funeral. Looking back, I am grateful for the many people that helped and brought us comfort, but I also recall having to deal with some folks who saw death as just another opportunity to make profit.

When your time comes, won’t you want to make it easier for the family you will leave behind? Superstitious individuals shy away from planning their own funeral, feeling that it will court misfortune to come their way. But then another superstition says planning ahead actually adds more years to one’s life.

All these myths aside, consider that failing to plan is planning to fail. Do it for your loved ones as funeral and memorial plans are becoming more and more expensive. Plus, they require a great deal of red tape and paperwork that no grieving family should have to manage.

Check this short list for more reasons to get a head start on your planning.

THE EARLIER YOU BUY, THE CHEAPER IT WILL BE

Buying a memorial plan in your 20s may be the last thing on your mind, but you will find that when you shop around for one in your 40s that you will be paying around twice the cost. That’s because memorial plans are also risk-based, and the older you are, the higher the risk of your mortality so the fee goes up, and it will keep going up as you age.

PLAN YOUR DAYS (AND NIGHTS).

Most people would find it morbid to plan their funeral but buying a memorial plan will require you to make choices and spare your family from deciding what you would have wanted. And because the discussions will be made in a transactional tone (after all, the sales person does this day in and day out), it’s not as uncomfortable as you think. Want a new or used casket? Prefer to be buried or cremated? How many days (and nights) for the funeral and where? Go through the checklist with your wishes and your family’s comfort in mind.

LIFE OR DEATH? ALWAYS CHOOSE LIFE FIRST

Only buy a memorial plan when you already have a life insurance. That’s because life insurance will give you and your beneficiaries more flexibility with the proceeds. A memorial plan is for a single purpose, while a life insurance can be designed to serve different financial and protection needs. You can also purchase a life insurance with the intention of using the proceeds to cover funeral costs at some point in the future, if you cannot decide at this time about the memorial arrangements you prefer.

Whatever you decide, remember that you are buying not just a memorial plan or life insurance, but peace of mind and security for you and your family.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.