There is no way of knowing when death will arrive. Funerals happen when they happen. But, pre-planning for a funeral makes all the difference. In this article, we will walk you through the process of pre-planning a funeral and answer any questions you may have.
Funerals are one of many big life events such as a wedding or graduation. The difference is that funerals occur very suddenly. Death is not predictable and neither are funerals.Your funeral may not be happening in the near future, but the truth of life is that it will happen eventually. It is better to be prepared when the day comes than leaving your family and friends lost and unsure where to begin.
Funerals are also extremely expensive. The financial investment can be big stressor for family members, If the burden is left on them. Everything is less daunting and more manageable when a plan has been set in place. The same is true for funerals. If someone is nearing an elderly age, or death is anticipated in the near future for some other reason, then pre-planning is a good idea.
But, where do you start? What is involved in the lengthy process of planning a funeral? To start, you will need to decide between burial or cremation. Also, it is helpful to note if you want to have a religious procession and/or a ceremony. Consider the size of the event as well, meaning whether you want friends to come or you prefer the attendees to be family only. These decisions are only the beginning.
We understand the emotional stress imposed by funerals. We also empathize with your situation. Our mission is to reduce your financial strains and anxieties because we know that nothing about death or grief is easy. Funerals take a lot out of you. We want to lessen the burden and emotional turmoil of planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one.
Anyone facing the pre-planning stage of a funeral will be better off if they know the basics. Funeral planning is a process. Like anything done ahead of time, you have to anticipate a lot of things, like how many people will be in attendance, or if the ceremony will be open to the public. You will need to make your best educated guesses on some matters, like the weather. To stay on the safe side of things, you should plan for everything.
Now, try not to let that idea overwhelm you. Planning for anything is the best thing to do because it allows you to keep your plan vague. When pre-planning a funeral, you just need to create an outline of everything. You can make adjustments when you put the plan into place and carry through with the funeral. Until then, a general idea is great.
Planning a funeral is important for many reasons. One reason to pre-plan a funeral is to have the hard part figured out before the funeral happens. If you can outline the process and make big decisions ahead of time, you will save your loved ones a lot of time and indecisiveness. You are not a burden, but funerals can become burdensome, especially when the family and friends of the deceased are left with all the hard decisions.
Funerals can become incredibly stressful. Every detail matters, and there are a lot of details. At your funeral, everyone should be focused on you and your incredible legacy, not on stress or emotional strain inflicted by planning a funeral. Since funerals occur soon after death, there is not much time between the two events to take care of everything that needs to be handled. You save everyone a lot of additional heartache when your funeral is pre-planned.
Another reason to pre-plan your funeral is that a funeral is a celebration of your life. The only way to be celebrated according to your wishes is to be a part of the planning process. So many people who love you and knew you are going to be in attendance. A funeral is seen as a sad event, which it is. Death is never uplifting or exciting. But, your life is something to celebrate and that is the point of a funeral. Lending a hand in your own funeral personalizes it and makes sure that any of your strong desires are carried out on the day of the funeral.
The people who take your plan and turn it into a real event are under a lot of stress. Chances are they are also your family members or closest friends. They love you more than anyone and will feel the loss of you more than anyone, too. But, if all they can focus on is planning your funeral, then they cannot take that time to grieve. Funeral homes are a great resource to reach out to when you are pre-planning a funeral. They can manage certain aspects, like coordinating a hearse with your funeral time. There are many little details that often get overlooked but funeral home staff are there for a reason.
Unlike birthday parties or weddings, funerals do not come with a date that is set months in advance. Most times, when someone passes away, a funeral is arranged within a week of his or her death. Trying to complete all the necessary tasks of planning a funeral within that one-week timeframe is exhausting.
If you wait to make big decisions until the funeral date has been set, you are going to feel so overwhelmed, you might collapse under the pressure. Pre-planning allows you to make specific funeral arrangement decisions prior to needing them. These arrangements range from funeral homes and burial plots, to invitations and reservations at a venue for the reception.
You and yours can budget more easily when you plan ahead. It is easy to make mistakes with your money in stressful situations. Funeral planning helps you compile a list of everything you expect to pay for. You can also set a limit on how much you want to spend on the funeral. The cost of a funeral is high, but it does not have to be impossible to reach. By budgeting, you can stay within your financial means while also allocating funds to everything that a funeral needs.
Outlining a budget is also a good measure because it lessens the shock of sudden financial responsibilities for your family. When someone dies, the family steps up to the plate and handles matters. This can be a very stressful time if they have to pay for everything out of their own pockets. If family members will need to help fund a funeral, it is always better that they know ahead of time. That is not a fun surprise to hear about after their loved one has passed. Being prepared is key and pre-planning is the best way to do that.
A funeral planning checklist is like a to-do list. Once you complete a task, you can stop worrying about it. Checklists help you remember that you are making progress. Funeral directors have collectively come up with four steps of funeral planning:
Talking about planning a funeral for yourself is an odd situation. Most people might not even consider playing a role in the planning process. After all, your funeral is the one event that is all about you, but that you will not take an active part in.
But your funeral is all about you and it is important that the event reflect who you are. Your wishes are the most important aspect. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Pre-planning your own funeral does not have to be sad. Funerals are a celebration of your life so you should play a role in the planning. No one knows you better than you know yourself.
If you don't have family to turn to, you are not alone. Reach out to the funeral planning community.
Before you contact a funeral home or crematory, think about the fine details. If you don't know what you want from the appointment with a funeral home director, you could agree to something you don't want. Funeral homes offer caskets and flower arrangements, but did you know that there are other providers of those items? If you don't do your research, you won't know the full extent of your options.
It is important that you have a budget in mind before reaching out to professionals as well. Knowing what you can and can't afford will be a driving force behind many of your decisions. Did you know that your funeral can take place in the comfort of your own home? The options are endless. Explore yours before you reach out to a funeral home for guidance.
Picking a venue for your funeral is important. Once you know where you want it to be held, you can reach out and inform them that you would like to use their services, when the time comes. This can give you a clearer idea of how much the funeral will cost you and your family. After you know what you want from a funeral home, you can begin the search online for funeral homes near you. Comparing funeral homes and their services to the qualities you want as part of your funeral is a great way of narrowing it down. There are many to choose from but not all of them will meet your standards. You might not even want to have a traditional funeral. It is entirely up to you.
The sooner you notify a funeral home that you would like to use their venue, the better they can accommodate your needs. Funeral directors are used to staying on their toes and planning for last minute events. After all, their entire career revolves around something sudden and unpredictable.
After conversing with your family and friends who will survive you, fill out funeral planning forms and worksheets. Inform the people around you of your wishes so they can make sure to fulfill them. Contacting a funeral home, no matter how far in advance, is a wise move. Check out their pre-packages if you are looking to save money. Often times, funeral homes will bundle their services and sell them at a discounted rate, compared to if you purchased each service separately.
If you do not want to have a traditional funeral, document your wishes anyway and share them with your family and friends. The more descriptive and concise your intentions are, the more closely your funeral will align with your preferences. Planning funerals is the key to a smooth process.
Funding a funeral can become gruesome. When you think about everything involved in a funeral, you might just see dollar sign after dollar sign. Everything costs money and funerals are no exception. Burial plots start at $1,000 in most locations. Reserving a funeral home for the reception can be upwards of $3,000. Costs add up really easily. If you are in search of comforting blog posts about funerals, there is a plethora of commentary on the subject. People have written honest articles about what paying for a funeral really means and that insight could really help you.
Funerals take a lot of time, too. This cuts into finances because people have to request unpaid time off from work. Some people might have to travel great distances to attend the funeral. Family members involved in the planning process might be scattered all around the world, meaning they have to take additional time off of work and away from home to plan the occasion. An obituary needs to be written. Tributes are often given in memoriam as well.
Creating a list of everything and the price associated with each aspect can help you figure out your predicted costs. From there, you can determine if these costs are affordable. If not, you can begin saving up for them. Rather than your family taking out loans, or selling their possessions for funding, you can all take active measures to save up.
Pre-planning your funeral gives you the gift of time. You can be leisurely about the process because you aren't under the same time crunch as someone planning a funeral after someone died. You have the luxury of taking time with your decision-making.
You also have enough time to set up a funeral insurance policy to help cover the costs of the funeral. You have options when it comes to your funeral insurance but the most popular route to take is naming the funeral home of your choice in your will. That way, the funeral home is posthumously allowed to charge your accounts and withdraw funds for your funeral. The funeral home is considered a beneficiary, and if you have figured out how much your funeral will cost prior to your passing, you can include that amount in your will. That way, the funeral home receives the exact amount they are due and your family does not have to pay the difference.
Another benefit of funeral insurance is that you can create a payment plan. The costs of your funeral can be divided into multiple payments over time. This is an incredibly helpful perk of insurance, especially if your family is helping to cover the costs. This way, they don't need to come up with a lump sum of money all at once. They can budget and submit smaller payments over the course of a predetermined time frame. Time is a wonderful thing when it comes to finances, and having the freedom to pay over time drastically reduces stress levels.
Planning a funeral is emotionally draining and financially stressful if not done properly, or at all. But with funeral planning guides, templates, and worksheets, you are sure to create a great plan for an eventual funeral.
Sometimes it helps to connect with people going through a similar experience. There are online communities with forums on funeral planning and grieving in general. You do not have to figure it out all on your own. Reach out to peers if you would benefit from discussions with people in the same situation as you.
Funeral planning guides take you step by step, asking you questions and posing thought-provoking situations for you to consider. You can work through your will, figure out where you would like items in your estate to go, and line up appointments with a counsellor if necessary. Planning guides are also helpful when it comes to finances.
We offer many funeral planning resources to help you along the way. Our company can also connect you to the most hospitable funeral homes and knowledgeable cremation providers in your area. Take a look at our directories for more information, specific to your city or state.
* Based on NFDA 2009 data for average funeral costs and represents only basic funeral services.