What to Consider When Planning Your Funeral
Have you started considering your end-of-life plans?
Too many people don’t consider funeral planning until it’s too late. A funeral service is an important event, and if you leave it to your loved ones, you can cause them a lot of stress.
Planning your funeral ahead of time ensures that you get everything that you want. Your loved ones don’t have to worry about a thing and they can focus on the grieving process.
Not sure how to plan your funeral? Let’s talk about it. Keep reading to learn a few things that you should consider during the funeral planning process.
Body Disposition Methods
This may seem morbid, but it’s important for you to consider how you want your body to be treated after you die. It’s helpful to make this decision on your own so your family isn’t responsible for this difficult decision.
The most popular options are traditional burial and cremation.
During a traditional burial, your body goes into a casket. This casket goes into a cemetery (either in the ground or in a family building). You get a gravestone or a placard to mark your grave and your family members can visit whenever they please.
Cremation is growing in popularity due to a lack of space for burials and a pervasive belief that it’s better for the environment (though this is up for debate). Many cultures also favor cremation.
Aquamation is a type of disposition in which the body is dissolved in an alkaline solution. This is one of the most eco-friendly options, but it isn’t yet widely available.
Many people choose to donate their bodies to science or the medical field. This is the most affordable option (as it’s free) and you’ll be doing something great for the world.
There are several other options available (such as eco-friendly burials). Think carefully about this decision.
Your “Type” of Funeral
So what type of funeral do you want?
If you’re part of a specific religious or cultural group, this decision may be easy. Religious death and funeral rites tend to be passed down through generations, and while these traditions are fading, you may still be interested in upholding them within your own family.
You could have a traditional funeral in a church or funeral home (we’ll discuss locations later on). You then have the option of an open or closed casket.
You could have a celebration of life. These “funerals” are supposed to be less somber. Remember, funerals are for the living, so if you want to go out with a bang (and a party), this is the way to go.
Talking to a funeral planner will help you narrow down your funeral options.
Covering The Costs
When people pre-plan their funerals, it’s often because of the financial aspect. Funerals are expensive, and if you don’t plan ahead, your family may be responsible for those costs.
If you want the funeral that you envision, future planning is crucial.
Sometimes life insurance policies can help to cover your funeral. You can also set aside a small amount of money every month for your future funeral costs. If you’re using a funeral home, they may offer payment plans.
Many funeral homes allow you to plan ahead with a locked-in price. This means that, even if the cost of the funeral home goes up, you’ll pay the lower price that you arranged already.
Traditional funerals and burials tend to be the most expensive, so factor this into your decision and planning process.
Your Funeral Location
Where do you want your funeral to be?
Again, most people choose traditional locations such as churches or funeral homes. It’s far easier to plan a funeral in these locations, but you have other options.
There’s no law about having a funeral in a specific place. As long as you have permission from the property owner, you can (usually) have a funeral there. Check your local laws and regulations before making your choice.
While it’s unconventional, a body can be kept at home to allow for a home funeral. You can have a funeral at a favorite place, though this may be best for a funeral without a body present.
The funeral is the main event, but you can also arrange additional events.
Graveside services are common for burials. This is when the coffin is placed into the ground at the gravesite while loved ones gather and say their final goodbyes. It’s often a smaller event than the funeral itself.
You could have a wake or a viewing. In some cultures, it’s customary to do this at home.
Funerals often have receptions. This happens after the funeral itself. It’s a time when loved ones can gather, eat, and share memories about the deceased.
If you choose to have a reception, make sure that you make any necessary arrangements regarding food, decorations, and entertainment.
Even if you’re handling the funeral planning process on your own, it’s important that you also designate responsibilities to someone else.
If you’re using a funeral planner, most of these responsibilities will go to them. They’ll make sure that your wishes are carried out so you can rest in peace.
It’s also helpful to designate responsibilities to a friend or family member. This is going to be an emotional conversation, but it will ensure that there are no arguments about responsibilities after you pass.
Special requests are “extras,” but this doesn’t mean that they’re less important. What are some things that you want regarding your funeral?
If you’ve chosen cremation, where do you want your loved ones to spread your ashes? Do you want them to keep your ashes at home on the mantle?
Do you want specific people on your guest list (or off your guest list)? While you won’t be there to make sure that the right people are in attendance, your loved ones should obey your wishes.
If you want specific people to read your eulogies, read poems, or sing at your funeral, make these requests ahead of time. You should also designate an officiant.
Planning Your Funeral? Start Here
Planning your funeral isn’t too dissimilar to planning a party. Remember, this event is all about you, even if it’s for your loved ones. Make sure that your funeral is everything that you want it to be by planning it ahead of time.
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