Over the years we have served tens of thousands of families through some of the toughest times any of us will ever experience, the loss of a loved one.
We love to do our part in helping these families memorialize their loved ones in stone. That being said, we have also seen the emotional, physical, and financial stresses the process of purchasing a monument for a recently passed loved one can have on families.
Fortunately, planning ahead and purchasing your own stone before you need it can provide you comfort and satisfaction knowing you have removed these stressors out of your loved ones’ grieving process.
See Our Full Gallery of Pre-Need Monuments
Difference between Pre-Need and At-Need
A pre-need monument is a monument that is selected and, most of the time, purchased before a person actually “needs” it…aka, before they pass away. Often times, purchasing a pre-need headstone is done as a part of end-of-life planning that many couples and families take part in. There are definite advantages to purchasing your stone ahead of time that we will discuss in the next section.
An at-need monument is a term we use to describe a monument that is purchased for someone who has already passed. Since this person is no longer living, all of the decisions, planning, and financial aspects of purchasing a monument will fall onto their loved ones.
Benefits of a Pre-Need Monument
Having worked with 31,000+ families, we have experienced the benefits of purchasing a pre-need monument first hand. While the topic can be difficult to bring up and talk about, here are some of the primary reasons we would encourage you to consider having a discussion about your future monument needs with your spouse or loved ones.
Relieve Emotional Stress on Loved Ones
Grieving the loss of a loved one is an incredibly emotional and difficult time for everyone involved; especially those in charge of settling your affairs.
They are dealing with planning the funeral, writing your obituaries, settling your estate, all of this while trying to care for their own emotional health. Removing the burden of purchasing a monument and all that process entails will be a tremendous gift to them.
Purchasing your monument ahead of time will also help your loved ones through the grieving process by providing them with a real, physical place to grieve and remember you by.
Relieve Financial Burden on Loved Ones
The average cost of a funeral has risen dramatically over the last 20 years. In fact, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in 2017 was $7,360. That price does NOT include the cost of purchasing a monument ($1,000 – $10,000 on average) and any associated cemetery fees (up to $1000 or more). source: http://www.nfda.org/news/statistics
This is already an immense financial burden for your loved ones to bear. Adding the purchase of a monument on top of it all can be completely overwhelming for some families. Settling your monument purchase ahead of time will ensure that you aren’t passing this burden on to them.
Another financial benefit is that you get to choose how much money you’d like to spend on your monument. In addition to giving you this control, it will proactively prevent any potential financial disputes between your heirs as they try to determine how much to spend.
Decision Making is Easier
Have you ever tried to make rational decisions in moments of intense emotional situations? If you have, you can imagine how tough it might be for your loved ones to actually make good and wise decisions as they try to design your monument in the midst of their grieving process.
If you plan ahead, you can involve all of your loved ones in the process of designing your stone in a much less emotionally charged atmosphere, which is better for everyone.
Dear Scott & Mary Gibson, We drove to view our stone and it was done just as promised. It gave us peace of mind to have this completed. We would like to give a special thank you to Doug at the Sioux Falls location for all his help and patience. This is a hard thing to do but he made it easier. Sincerely, Jeff & Lois
Dear Gibson Family, We were very happy and satisfied in our dealings with Tony and the information he gave us. When we stopped at Family Memorials I told Dave to remember we were just looking, not buying anything that day. Then we saw that blue silk memorial and knew that was the one for us. We drove to the cemetery the evening it was delivered and we are very happy with it. It's perfect! Thank you Tony, David & Gloria
Family Memorials by Gibson, Thank you for your beautiful work and please thank Jody for all her help and kindness. Nanette
Tell Your Own Story
Think about this: your monument will likely be the longest surviving physical memory of your life. In 500 years, long after any living person remembers you, your stone will still be there telling your story. You must ask: Who do you want telling that story?
If you take care of your headstone before you pass, you can be the person telling your own life story!
Shop Around for Quality and Price
This might not be the smartest thing for us to say, but purchasing a monument ahead of time will allow you to shop around to compare quality and price. Price is important, but more importantly, you will want to consider quality!
You may find a much cheaper option, but, most likely, the quality of the product will be much lower. Considering how long your monument will be around, you don’t want it to become unreadable in 25 years.
Insert shameless plug: Here at Family Memorials we have never claimed to be the cheapest or the most expensive, but we do claim to produce the highest quality product around for a fair price. (Check out our “You Get What You Pay For” series to see some examples of our high-quality work compared to cheaper options)
Avoid Price Inflation
Let’s face it; everything gets more and more expensive as the years go by. At Family Memorials, we adjust our prices annually and they rarely decrease! If you’re in a place where you’re able to go ahead and take care of your monument expenses, it can only save you (and your loved ones) money in the long run. Lock in your price now!
What If I Don’t Want to See my Name on a Headstone?
This is actually a very common concern. Many folks understand all of the aforementioned benefits of purchasing a headstone before they need it but just can’t imagine seeing their own name or birth-date out in the cemetery.
Don’t fret if this is you. There are options for you too!
The first option is that we place the finished stone in the cemetery without the unwanted information (names, dates, or both). When the time comes, you (or your funeral home) can place an order for the names and dates to be lettered and we’ll send our cemetery lettering team out to the cemetery to letter the remaining information on-site.
Please note: there will be an extra charge to letter the final dates and names as we cannot accept payment for future work for complicated legal/financial reasons.
The second option is that we go through the entire design process until it meets your approval. At this point, you will pay for the stone and we’ll hold your order until the stone is needed. When the time comes, we’ll pull your stone (or order it if it’s a custom shape) and complete the order. (This option does not guarantee that your stone would be set in time for the funeral.)
We’ve had many pre-need customers go these routes! So, don’t let the fear of seeing your name on a stone in your cemetery prevent you from taking advantage of all of the benefits of purchasing a monument before you need it!
Family Memorials can Help with Your Pre-Need Monument
We have six physical locations throughout the state of South Dakota and representatives in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Montana. If you are considering taking care of your monument before it’s needed, our monument experts would love to work with you!
We’ll also ship monuments anywhere in the continental US, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us no matter where you are.
We pride ourselves on the quality of work we do and we would love to serve you! Please give us a call or stop by one of our offices/showrooms so we can get the pre-need process started.
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I think you’re right that getting a monument made before your loved one passes would be great for relieving the emotional burden on those left behind, especially in regards to the customization options it allows for the one passing. As you said, it leaves the ones grieving with something to remember them by, especially for someone as artistic as my brother who could really come up with something that would characterize him. He’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and he wants to relieve the burden on us by planning the funeral and doing the other tasks you mentioned, so I think this is a task he’d take on readily with the rest.