Budgeting and planning for your final arrangements and funeral service are probably the last thing you want to think about. They’re also the last major decisions of your life story….and there is no need to fear preparing for what is just part of the circle of life. Here at the Beth El Mausoleum in Boca Raton, Florida, we pride ourselves on our dedication to making the most challenging and difficult personal and financial decisions easier for both pre-need funeral planning and at-need funeral arrangements. To help you navigate this road we have valuable information from us as well as several experts in the funeral industry and an estate planning attorney who will share their thoughts on subjects including: budget planning for a Jewish funeral, the role of the funeral home vs. the cemetery or mausoleum, how to avoid inflation by locking in guaranteed rates today, Beth El Mausoleum pre-need discounts and pricing, burial insurance and more.
Budgeting for a Funeral
“Some new clients come to me and advise that they keep their funeral wishes to themselves and will leave it up to their children (or others) to deal with those things at their death. I can tell you from experience that this is not a pleasant task to assume right after the death of a loved one. I strongly advocate that my clients make pre-arrangements and advise their families of the details of such arrangements. This takes a huge burden off them to know they simply have to make a phone call and all else will be handled.”
Mark A. Schaum, Esquire, CPA, PA
Board Certified Wills, Trusts & Estates Law
Mike has worked with countless families who have come to him to make their final arrangements. For some, money is no object – for others it is a struggle. He has encountered situations where the spouse who always handled all the finances passes, – and the surviving spouse may be at an additional loss as to what to do. In this situation where the surviving spouse may not even be aware of their own financial circumstances – having always relied on their life partner – thoughts of “what can I afford to spend?”’ come up at the worst possible time. Mike wisely advises that from both a spiritual and financial point of view, it’s best to discuss everything in advance.
Avoid Inflation: Pre-Paid Funerals
No matter your final wishes – you can count on the fact that the cost is always going to go up…generally consistent with inflation. A Jewish prepaid funeral will cost less when purchased now as opposed to buying a year or more from now. “Generally speaking, prices do go up and this year appears to be no exception,” says Mike. At the Beth El Mausoleum, sacred spaces such as air-conditioned indoor spaces, lower rows (inside or outside) that you can touch, spaces for two people that are side-by-side as opposed to head-to-head are in greater demand and are therefore more expensive. If you have a preference for a specific location or type, not only will you save money by securing it as soon as possible – it will be reserved for you, to avoid disappointment if all are spoken for.
No Hidden Costs
When making arrangements at the Beth El Mausoleum, there are no surprise expenses – we pride ourselves on our full transparency. There are no hidden fees, no open/close fees, no filing or recording fees, no sales tax since the Beth El Mausoleum is a non-profit organization, no extra charge for livestreaming the service, or the unveiling. All of this is included. Additionally, 20% of every purchase goes into a perpetual care fund so there are no future costs either. We include everything other than the casket or urn and the required services of a funeral home.
Sample Pre-Need Payment Options
A crypt purchase for caskets requires 20% at contract signing with 4 years of no-interest annual payments. In total with the down payment, you will be making 5 payments (unless you choose 12 monthly annual payments over that same 4-year time period.) Cremation is also an option, and a niche purchase for cremation/urns requires 1/3 of the amount at signing, followed by two annual payments unless you choose 12 monthly annual payments over that same 2-year time period.
Budget for the Funeral Home
Separate from a cemetery or a mausoleum, a funeral home for burial or cremation should be an integral part of your end of life planning budget – and can also be pre-arranged. The funeral home provides a variety of important and required services working in conjunction with your choice of a final resting place.
“There’s a difference between financial planning and estate planning. The first focuses on your current and future financial goals, the second targets distribution of assets at the time of death, and who will handle that process. Planning ahead now will ensure that your estate will be able to cover the costs of your wishes. When you make pre-arrangements, the price is guaranteed to remain the same regardless of how much time passes. Once you make your decision, finish the process by making the purchase. Hope that it will be a long time before it’s needed…but it will be ready and waiting when the time comes.”
-Keith Kronish, Co-CEO, Co-Founder and Funeral Director,
Kronish Funeral Services
“Making funeral pre-arrangements is an important part of your financial planning. From our perspective there’s virtually no greater gift you can give to those you leave behind than to carefully plan all aspects of your funeral. There are many advantages to doing this. You’ll lock in guaranteed prices for all services and items purchased. Your survivors won’t have to figure out how to pay for everything and determine your wishes – you will have the funeral you want. It will be more meaningful and your family members can focus their energies where they should be….on grieving. You will have peace of mind…there’s comfort in knowing that everything has been arranged.”
-Steven Kanowitz, Vice President
Gutterman Warheit Memorial Chapel
The Beth El Mausoleum works with all local funeral homes, but has arranged preferred pricing from Kronish Funeral Services and Gutterman-Warheit Memorial Chapel both of whom we work with often and have offered to do so.
What About Burial Insurance?
Burial insurance is another factor to consider for your end of life planning. Based on the company and individual policy it can cover a variety of expenses, however insurance will not pay out until after someone passes away. This means that if you need to pay in full at the time of the death, you will need to wait for reimbursement afterward. Some cemeteries may accept “assignment” and wait for the payment – but we and many others do not.
Coming Full Circle
From the viewpoint of a glass half empty to a glass half full, funeral financial planning removes the burden of so many unforeseen expenses from your loved ones. Just as there is a cost of living, yes…there is a cost of dying. But with proper planning and locking in prices at today’s rates, we can live our lives according to our means and know that when the time comes, our final wishes will be granted…because they were planned for and paid for… hopefully long before we ever need them.