Planning An Effective Way To Ensure Legacy Protection

In the middle of a crisis, the last thing anyone should have to do is make an important financial decision, a choice about healthcare or the future of dependent children. Let’s face it: most of us are not as good at decision-making as we could be when facing a stressful situation, such as the death of a spouse.

When dealing with the passing of her husband, Keith, who lost his battle with ALS in 2014, Megan Kopka realized that preparation is the key to helping the survivors. Kopka, who was only 38 at the time, was suddenly faced with the reality of being a single mom to her two children, aged 18 and 14.

Though she and her husband took the time to plan while dealing with his terminal illness, the experience made Kopka realize that many people do not have the time to plan or make arrangements. “Death is hard on the survivors, therefore planning truly is an act of love,” said Kopka, who started the Cape Fear Community of Modern Widows Club to provide the widows with a means of emotional support and healing. “I understand how challenging the cacophony of emotions are when death happens, along with ‘being responsible’ to have tough conversations while in shock.”

Analyzing those important decisions beforehand can be an effective means of alleviating the stresses that survivors experience. Many procrastinate and do not set aside the time for pre-planning, partially because they think their situation will change and the decisions they make are final. However, this is not the case, as the majority of final decisions and preparations can be changed based on current needs or circumstances.

“Make the decisions you think are best now and change them when they no longer suit you and your needs,” advises Kopka, who also launched her financial planning firm to help people dealing with tough situations cipher through their options. “It is good to have trusted professionals to consult.”

Of course, having a trusted professional on your side is also essential if you are suddenly forced to deal with the unfortunate reality of having to pre-plan a funeral or celebration of life. Our compassionate Dignity Memorial experts get all the details set ahead of time, so when a loved one passes all of the most difficult choices have already been made.

A proper memorial begins with pre-planning final arrangements. This is a way to help relieve the emotional and financial burdens that survivors and families experience. “On my own, I rewrote my plans for the fifth time,” added Kopka. “When Keith was dying, I noted his wishes. As an example, this included who he wanted to speak at his funeral. I have pre-planned to great extent for myself and I have written down my choices. My children know where I keep my ‘Letter of Intent,’ which contains my final wishes and intentions along with where to access my other important documents.”

Planning ahead for memorialization is a great way to ensure that your final wishes are met and your loved ones will have to deal with as little uncertainty as possible. For more information on how to establish a truly memorable place or means of celebrating a remarkable life,


Michael Higgins is Sales Manager for Dignity Memorial®, which cares for more than 300,000 families each year through its network of more than 2,000 providers throughout North America. Learn more at or call Greenlawn Memorial Park, Oleander Memorial Gardens and Coble Funeral and Cremation Services at Greenlawn Memorial Park, 910.799.1686.

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