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Good Grief: The Gift of Final Expense Planning

By: Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi, CRPC, CLTC

cairnIf you would rather spend your free time in retirement researching your next car or vacation instead of final expense options, you’re probably not alone. We all know that the earlier you begin saving for retirement, the better.

But what happens after you retire? Does your planning stop? Of course it doesn’t. We transition our focus to the next 30 years, or long term care planning. But sometimes that focus can be a little cloudy. When we retire, we spend a lot of time on our financial and physical health, strategizing our income and choosing the best medical coverage.

Long term care planning is the thoughtful consideration of our needs into and through retirement, and it is an integral part of a financial plan.

We often discuss plans for our home–will we “age in place” or downsize? We consider our social options, an encore career, time spent volunteering with an important cause, or spending more time with our friends and our family. And of course, there are the vacations.

With all of the distractions, it’s no wonder that we meet so many clients who are ready to retire but haven’t looked at their insurance, wills, or powers of attorney since their last major life event. In many cases this major life event was the purchase of the first home, marriage, a job change, or children.

The best time to start working on your long term care planning is before your health changes, and here are 5 tips to get started:

1. Review your Life Insurance Policies: If planning to use for final expenses, will they be in force 20-30 years from now? If used for final expenses, will you leave anything to your family? Are beneficiaries accurate?

2. Talk to your Attorney: Does your will follow your wishes? Is your power of attorney updated?

3. Talk to your Funeral Home: Pre-paid funeral plans are sold by funeral homes and allow you to make arrangements in advance. Is your plan complete?

4. Review Your Final Expense Insurance: Final expense insurance is there to cover any expenses or costs directly related to your funeral. Does your insurance coordinate with your pre-planning?

5. Review Your Family Letter: Is your letter accurate and does your family know where to locate it?

Most people are recognizing that final expense planning, especially planning a funeral in advance of the need, demonstrates a thoughtful gift. Pre-planning allows family to spend time together as they go through the grieving process.

As planners, we believe in the importance of pre-planning to ensure that your final wishes are met without causing financial strain on family. So before you start planning that next vacation, spend a few minutes getting started with the tips above.


cpm-2016Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi, CRPC, CLTC is a Financial Planner with The Musuneggi Financial Group. She guides clients in everything from budgeting basics to milestone moments like buying a home, paying for education, running a business, planning for retirement, and creating a legacy. Have questions about pre-planning or long term care planning? You can reach Christine at 412-341-2888 x314 or