Why is pre-planning important?
According to a general survey, there are three primary concerns among family breadwinners. Matters concerning their children’s future top the list. This is followed by financial pressures of the next generation. In third place is the occurrence of unpleasant incidences such as loss of income, critical illnesses and worse still, loss of life.
Life is uncertain; but death isn’t. That is the universal truth that is shared by all regardless of age, status, race or gender. Anyone who has lived through the unfortunate passing of a loved one will know how devastating it can be. Aside from having to deal with the trauma of losing someone dear, there is the additional stress of dealing with the financial and logistical details.
What would the deceased have wanted? What sort of religious service is appropriate? Do you choose burial or cremation? Are there adequate funds to cover the entire process?
If providing answers to these questions feel difficult before death occurs, imagine how it would be like when it happens. This is exactly why pre-planning is important for both yourself and your family.
The advantages of pre-planning
Contrary to popular misconception, planning for it does not make one morbid. Instead, it makes living each day count and brings a new appreciation for life. The advantages in pre-planning are numerous, and it can benefit both you and your family or loved ones in many ways.
5 main advantages of pre-planning for yourself
You assume financial responsibility of your own funeral
When the unthinkable happens, the financial responsibility of your last rites now falls on your family. The average funeral is priced upward of RM20,000 excluding burial plot or columbarium costs. Without any pre-planning or funds set aside, imagine the financial stress such an event places on your family. By pre-planning, you can prevent this by assuming the responsibility yourself.
You will have time and space to consider all factors and concerns
By pre-planning early, you will be able to look around and compare services and prices before committing to any decision; instead of waiting until a crisis occurs when your family will be pressured into making unnecessary choices during a stressful and emotional time. You will also be able to involve your family members in all your decisions.
You can be self-reliant and choose the way you wish to be celebrated and remembered
Through pre-planning, you will get to decide and have final say on every detail of your final send-off without burdening your family with questions and doubts as to what your final wishes are. This way, both you and your family are assured that everything will be taken care of, exactly as you have decided without leaving any reason for dispute.
You get the option of paying over time through an instalment plan
Through pre-planning, you can enjoy the option of paying over time through an instalment plan compared to having to pay a huge lump sum in an immediate situation when death occurs. This helps lighten your financial burdens and you will be able to plan your commitments easier.
You will be able to enjoy greater peace of mind and complete financial planning
One of the costliest and most often ignored events of a person’s time on earth are end of life affairs. It is only sensible to prioritise pre-planning to complete your financial planning in life. By pre-planning, you will enjoy greater peace of mind knowing all your affairs are in place and the knowledge that your family will one day receive the greatest gift of love in your absence.
5 main advantages of pre-planning for your family
Your family will know who to contact in the event of an emergency
Upon a person’s passing, there are over a hundred decisions to be made in the first 24 hours. All of these decisions would be further complicated and delayed if your family does not know what to do or who they should turn to for advice on such matters. If there is a pre-plan in place, your family will know who to contact for assistance.
Your family will not be pressured into making hasty decisions
When death occurs, most families tend to be unfamiliar with what needs to be done. During such vulnerable times, they may find themselves pressured into making unnecessary costly decision based on emotions. If pre-planning has been already done, this will circumvent such occurrences as every important decision pertaining to one’s final wishes has already been decided and paid for.
Your family can focus on remembering and healing
With pre-planning, your loved ones can be thoughtfully allowed to grieve and mourn without having to concern themselves with finances and logistical details of arranging a funeral. This way, they can be allowed to focus on remembering and healing.
Your family can avoid being suddenly forced to spend a huge amount to finance a funeral
With pre-planning, your family won’t be forced into a corner with very little room and time to manoeuvre during a very stressful and emotional time. This way, they won’t be compelled to produce a large amount of money to finance a funeral.
Your family is protected from rising funeral costs due to inflation
The cost of dying, like the cost of living, rises every year. By pre-planning today through a pre-need funeral contract, you are essentially locking in today’s prices against future inflation. Your family would be protected from being forced to pay inflated as-need prices when a death occurs in the future.
“The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
Nirvana Center Kuala Lumpur built their unique columbarium that is touted to be unlike any other found in Malaysia – the Rhyme of Life, embodying American journalist and novelist Chuck Palahniuk’s quote above.
Every ritual at a funeral is a way to accept the fact that we have lost a loved one, and the loss of a loved one is an unavoidable life experience for everyone and it is also a process.
In some cultures, death is a taboo topic.
What’s more, to talk about death and money in the same conversation would raise suspicion of greed and distrust.
This is a common question heard in the counseling room.
“I’ve never done anything bad in my life, why did such an unfortunate thing happen to me?”
“He was a good man – always doing good things – why did God take him away so quickly and take away the bad people?”
“Do we have to be bad people to live longer and get better rewards?”
I believe that many caregivers, and not just those in my family, share the same experience and feelings. The truth cannot be spoken freely, lest you will be accused of being unfilial if you are not careful.
As soon as she finished speaking, she handed the microphone to me. I didn’t have time to respond at that time and everyone started to prepare for the casket sealing ceremony.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is coming, are you going home too? How are you spending your Mid-Autumn Festival?
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Malaysia is a multi-racial country, with the main ethnic groups being Malay, Chinese and Indian. For the ethnic Chinese, there are various religious funeral rites such as Buddhist, Taoist and Christian, and Islamic and Hindu rites for the other ethnic groups. Different ethnic groups and religions have different cultural practices, religious ideologies, beliefs and values, making Malaysia’s funeral culture appear diverse in many ways.
“Grief is like sticky molasses; it may stick to us for the rest of our lives or it may stick to a certain portion of our lives – simply refusing to leave” is another insight I’ve recently had about grief. Just when we start to think that life is getting better, an event, person or object will remind us, “Ah, so you’re still here!”