It’s a very unfortunate truth, but someday, your parents will die. Everybody has to go through it at some point, and everybody will undoubtedly experience that process differently. It can feel incredibly overwhelming to have to make so many decisions so quickly, especially the ones that can be costly. You might own property now, or be responsible for more people than you were before. However it happens, and however everyone goes through it, there are ways to be more prepared for some of the difficult choices you may face when it does.
Planning the Funeral
One of the first things you’ll come to realize is that dying is really expensive, and funerals are a big part of the cost. Hopefully, your parents left a laid-out plan and prepaid or financed plans for their own arrangements. If not, you might be left making decisions ranging from what food to serve to what kind of coffin you’ll be purchasing.
Contact your local funeral home or cemetery to get advice on where to go next and what you have to do. They’ll walk you through the process of picking out a vault or cemetery plot if you’re looking to host a traditional burial, or looking into cremation centers or other disposal options. They also usually have financing options for paying for some of the services you may require, and most cemeteries are not-for-profit businesses. Social media can also make this part of grieving really weird, and it’ll be up to you to figure out how to best handle that. You’ll have to go with your best guess of your parents’ wishes when planning the details like who to invite.
When someone dies, some of their assets are automatically transferred to their heir. Check to see if there is any property, either physical or financial, that you’re entitled to inherit in the event of their death. You should also check to see if your parents had any life insurance policies and set those claims into motion. These things may ease the stress of affording a proper funeral and make the whole process a bit easier.
Burying on a Budget
You’ll have to make a lot of hard decisions, and it may only be made worse by financial constraints. If you know your parents would have wanted you to be able to handle this comfortably, there are a lot of ways that you can cut costs. Cremation and alkaline hydrolysis are cheaper alternatives to traditional burials, and allow you to keep the remnants of the bodies or dispose of them however you’d like. Cremation reduces the body to bone fragment and ash to be stored in an urn or similar container; you can store those personally however you’d like or have them spread out someplace like the ocean. Alkaline hydrolysis isn’t available in every state yet, but is a similar process and allows for similar disposition.
If you’d still like for the bodies to be buried, you can have a natural burial. These can range anywhere from purchasing a specific plot of land and burying them there to planting trees or other plants in memoriam. Some people choose to be buried on their property or nearby, and that can end up even less expensive. You can also choose to have the bodies wrapped or contained in a natural biodegradable vault, which allows for full decomposition. Choosing this route allows for peace-of-mind knowing that the body can give back to nature what gave them so much.
Tying Loose Ends
When your parents die, you’re going to need a lawyer. Most Americans today die with debts still in place, and companies usually seek repayment of those debts. Sometimes, companies will overstep their boundaries, and having a lawyer sort through all of their claims and actually figure out what is owed can be extremely helpful. Sometimes, debt collectors will be trying to collect the debt because they spent the anticipated repayment already and will use guilt or scare tactics to force you into paying back a debt that can be handled otherwise. Lawyers can help you sort through these claims and make sure you’re not paying more than what you actually owe. They can also help you more accurately find out what may have been left in your name, as parents sometimes put their children’s names on property or assets to ensure they’re passed down properly.
When it happens, the death of your parents can bring their entire world onto your shoulders in a very short amount of time. That’s why it’s easier to calmly approach each decision with a level head and know all of your options. It may also be good to think about it ahead of time and start to plan for when that time comes, either through funeral plans or other preparations.