Planning is a Part of Life
You plan for your first home, your child's education and your retirement. Creating and maintaining organized plans can be very helpful in enabling you to be prepared and live comfortably in the future. Today, many families are also recognizing the benefits of planning their funerals in advance.
Many people feel a little uneasy when they think about their own or a loved one's funeral. This is a normal reaction. But pre-planning a funeral can offer a surprising degree of emotional and sometimes even financial security. It can also relieve your family of having to make important organizational and financial decisions during a period of stress and grief. A preplanned funeral gives your family peace of mind knowing your funeral service was conducted according to your wishes.
There are various ways you can plan a funeral. Whether you choose to preplan, prearrange or even prepay, make the decision that feels right. Taking steps to being prepared provides a wide range of benefits for you and your family, including the ability to:
- Take time to find the right funeral director and funeral venue.
- Make your funeral wishes known to your family and your funeral director.
- Educate yourself about the many decisions involved in planning a funeral. Your choices are nearly limitless, and narrowing decisions ahead of time can help.
- Make arrangements when you and your loved ones have more time and a clearer perspective rather than when you or your family is under stress.
- Receive input from your family, which is who a funeral is really for. This also helps prevent disagreements about your wishes, giving your family a clear idea of the type of service you want.
- Make adjustments when the time comes. Life is full of change, and your loved ones may want to make a few adjustments later on that make the service even more meaningful. For that reason, your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate new thoughts and considerations that arise as time passes.
Preparing for Funeral Arrangements
The most important thing to remember in this process is that you should do what is right for you and your family. While pre-planning your funeral is the foundation for a variety of planning options, individuals also find prepaying to be advantageous, both personally and financially.
Prepaying helps to ensure that the financial responsibility for funeral costs is not placed on your family members. Taking care of this in advance relieves survivors from paying for these costs. If you are able to purchase a guaranteed-price contract, you may also save money because prices will be locked in at today's rates, eliminating the effects of inflation.
The following is a worksheet you can fill out before meeting with a funeral director. It will help you collect your thoughts as you begin to preplan. While you may find it difficult to think about this information, try to consider what will be best for you and your family.
Date and place of birth:
Names of parents (addresses and phone numbers, if living):
Name and address of spouse:
Names, addresses and phone numbers of children:
Names, addresses and phone numbers of siblings:
Names, addresses and phone numbers of other relatives and friends to notify:
Names and addresses of previous spouse(s) (if applicable):
Names and addresses of present and previous employers:
Religious affiliation Place of worship:
Clergy or other person(s) you would like to officiate:
Professional and fraternal organization memberships:
Education (schools, dates attended and degrees or honors received):
Preplanning a Meaningful Funeral
When you plan a funeral, you're arranging a celebration of your life to present to the people who have had the greatest impact on you. Whether you desire a traditional service or something a little different, there's always room for personalization. Your creativity can help provide a lasting impression for loved ones. Remember, the goal is to celebrate your life, giving friends and loved ones a chance to reminisce and say goodbye.
Personal additions and tributes are a powerful way to bring your personality to the ceremony, providing a feeling of closeness for those attending. A favorite song or CD, a small memento or favorite poem or story told by a friend or family member can be very meaningful. Themed services that feature a favorite hobby, pastime or passion can also help family and friends reflect, To encourage reflection and discussion, request chairs be arranged in small, intimate clusters around the room during the service. Following the funeral, you may choose to honor a loved one by creating a small memorial, such as planting a tree or making a contribution to a relevant charity. Below are some things to think about as you plan your personalized funeral.
Hobbies and interests
Things that brought joy
Important causes and beliefs