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Coroner-elect answers questions about funerals

An increasing number of individuals now preplan their own funerals. Planning ahead allows the consumer to compare prices on services, and designate his or her personal preferences regarding disposition of the body and the type of funeral service desired.

Preplanning arrangements can be made directly through funeral home establishments or through non-profit organizations, such as funeral planning or memorial societies that provide the consumer with information about funerals and disposition. These organizations do not offer actual funeral goods or services.

One of the most important considerations of pre-need planning is the determination of where the remains will be buried. Purchasing a burial plot or grave before the need arises relieves family members of the stress of having to make such a critical decision in a short period of time without thought or careful consideration.

Consumers can preplan funeral arrangements in advance without having to pay in advance. Due to changes in prices over time, it is a good idea to review your plans periodically.

Be sure to inform family members of your desires. You should also write your preferences down and keep them in a handy place. A copy should also be given to your attorney. It is not advisable to include your pre-need desires in your will as it is generally not found or read until after the funeral.

By preplanning you can lock in today’s prices for tomorrow’s funeral service.

Michael Fowler Sr., CFSP, is president of the Georgia Funeral Service Practitioners Association and is a retired death investigation specialist/forensic pathology assistant with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab. He is the coroner-elect for Dougherty County.