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Americans aren’t planning ahead for the end of life

Middle-aged couple making plans for the end of life, reading paperwork at the table

Getting your affairs in order before you die is vital to save your loved ones time, stress and even money. Yet new figures reveal that less than a quarter of Americans have planned for the end of life.

Statistics from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) show that although two-thirds of consumers feel that it is important to tell family members about funeral plans and wishes, only 21 per cent had actually done so.

The annual consumer study from the world’s largest funeral services association shows that despite understanding how essential funeral preplanning is, it still isn’t a priority for most Americans. This means that potentially three-quarters of families could be left in emotional and financial uncertainty in the wake of a bereavement.

In addition, the report showed that less than a fifth of people contact more than one funeral home when a loved one dies. The NFDA recommends calling or visiting several funeral homes to find a licensed funeral director who will be sensitive to your budget. Comparing funeral homes can help you find best service for you and your loved one.

If you haven’t thought about your end of life plans yet, there are several practical things you can do to get your affairs in order:

  • Write a will
  • Consider getting life insurance
  • Make an advance health care directive
  • Think about funeral preplanning
  • Create a funeral wishes list

When you make plans for the future, you may want to let your loved ones know what you’ve decided and where they can find any documents. This way they’ll know what to do when the time comes.

“The fact that two-thirds of Americans know it’s important to have a plan is a positive sign,” says Jessica Hanson of Funeral Guide. “But worryingly, that isn’t translating into action.

“It’s never pleasant to think about death or what will happen when you’re gone, but it is necessary. Something as simple as writing down your funeral wishes can help give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Plan for tomorrow so you can enjoy today.”

Find out more about estate planning or compare local funeral homes near you.