If the idea of funeral pre-planning makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Contemplating one’s own end of life is fraught with emotions. Many people fear death and will avoid thinking about it or discussing it with loved ones.
But when it comes to thinking about the type of funeral or end of life celebration you want, the only way to be certain that others understand your desires is by pre planning. While this might sound morbid or overwhelmingly sad, it is actually a kindness both to yourself, and to your loved ones.
Why You Should Consider Pre-Planning Your Funeral
Funeral pre-planning relieves the burden your loved ones feel when you pass away, because you’ve already done most of the work for them. There are so many decisions that have to be made when someone dies: will there be a viewing and a funeral or a celebration of life? Will the funeral be religious or traditional or unique in some way? Do you prefer to be buried or cremated? What songs would you like sung at your service? Are there readings that you’d like to have included?
These are just a few of the myriad questions your loved ones will be asked when you pass. Helping them now by recording your wishes can be a gift to them at a most difficult time. Instead of worrying themselves with wondering what you would have wanted—and trying to make every detail perfect—they can focus on their own feelings of grief.
To make the idea of funeral pre-planning a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things you should know about pre-planning funerals. This is not an exhaustive list and we always encourage people to take advantage of the resources on our website or to reach out to discuss your funeral pre-planning questions or thoughts with us personally. But if you’re interested in learning just a little for now, this article will get you started.
5 Things to Know About Funeral Pre-Planning
The first thing you should know is that having a conversation with your loved ones is the best way to share what you want and why. Starting the conversation early will not only help everyone feel more comfortable talking about end of life issues, but it can help your loved ones understand your wishes.
Consider, for example, if you prefer to be cremated. There are very good reasons to opt for cremation, but some people still hesitate for religious or other reasons. Being able to explain to your loved ones why it matters to you will help them when the time comes to celebrate and memorialize you in the way you hope to be celebrated.
The second thing you should know is that it’s vital to write your wishes down. While having a conversation is a good first step, having a record of what you want is also vital. Grief rewires the brain, which can make it especially difficult for those in mourning to remember details and execute tasks. Writing clear, easily understood wishes for end of life services will allow your loved ones to communicate your directives clearly to the funeral home director when the time comes to do so.
The third thing you should remember when pre planning funeral services is to understand the logistics of funerals and other end of life services. Learning about what needs to happen when a loved one passes—everything from obtaining a death certificate to choosing the right flowers—can be overwhelming. That’s especially true when someone is ill. By consulting a reputable and trusted funeral home when you’re healthy and able to objectively learn about the process of planning a funeral, you can be assured that you have plenty of time to make and talk about your preferences and decisions.
The fourth thing to consider is finances. There’s no question: funerals and other end of life services cost money. But there are ways to save. You might talk to our funeral director about pre-payment plans for your funeral. Or you might simply get a better idea of what services might cost, so you can start saving. No matter which option works best for your budget, pre planning end of life services require that you first know what you’re planning for. When you work with a trusted funeral home, there should never be surprise or hidden costs. We’re always happy to walk you through the options you have and the costs associated.
You should know, too, that the Funeral Consumers Alliance lists the average costs of funerals by state. Researching costs at this and other reputable organizations can help you understand how much of a budget your desired services will require.
The fifth thing to think about during funeral pre planning is that it’s also important to listen to your loved ones during your discussions. They might want to have a certain song during your service, because it’s an important part of their memories of you. Or they might like to read a favorite bible verse, or include a special prayer. Listening to them and allowing them to express what would be special to them as they grieve their loss reminds them that they are loved and respected.
Funeral Pre-Planning: Why It Matters
Remember that this is not an exhaustive list of considerations or reasons why pre planning a funeral can be a good decision. We’re hoping it helps you understand why having conversations with your loved ones early can help both of you when the time comes, so you can collectively make plans that simultaneously mourn and celebrate your life while allowing your loved ones to grieve their loss.
We are always here to answer your questions, discuss options, and help plan services that will truly honor and celebrate the lives of those you love. It would be our honor to help you during one of the hardest, most challenging times of your life. Reach out anytime.