Beyond Funeral Planning: Planning for Death
Most of the time, talking about advance funeral plans means making financial arrangements for the burial, cremation, or other body interment plan. You can set money aside to cover funeral costs, pay for everything ahead of time, or otherwise pre-plan for the day when you say goodbye to this earthly world.
However, there is so much more to death than simply taking care of bodily remains. While financial planning for a funeral is a smart move to make, you might also want to consider the emotional, spiritual, and personal preparations that should be made in advance.
There is no way to prepare yourself for death emotionally, since it is something no one can plan for. However, as you put your affairs in order, take some time to consider the relationships you will leave behind when you pass on.
- Are there family feuds or long-standing arguments that linger in the air? Are these the kinds of situations you would regret leaving unfinished when you die? Maybe now is the time to start taking steps toward reconciliation.
- Have you come to terms with your own mortality? When we are young, many of us view death as far away. As we age and begin to put our affairs in order, death becomes more real. As you make financial plans for after your death, also take the time to reflect on the realities of death and what it means for the time you have left.
- Did you take time to talk to your loved ones yet? One of the best side effects of pre-planning a funeral is that it forces you to have difficult conversations with your loved ones. By putting the issue of death out there and talking about it—what it means for the family, how you want your body to be handled, how happy you are to have loved ones in your life—you can clear up many lingering issues and also draw closer together.
Spiritual planning is another facet of funeral planning that you shouldn’t put off until the last minute. Every religion confronts death in a different way, and no one can tell you how you should prepare yourself on a spiritual level for the great beyond.
However, now is a good time to talk with your religious leaders and look to members of the clergy for guidance and support. Many people use funeral planning as a time to also address spiritual gaps in their life—and you might also find that your funeral plans are made easier when your church or temple is involved.
Beyond Financial Planning
Of course, financial planning is still an important part of what you leave behind when you die. If you are sitting down to consider how you will pass on your estate and money to relatives, also consider leaving other kinds of bequests behind. Charities, foundations, organizations, and causes that were close to your heart often have need of financial contributions, and this kind of gift can go a long way in reconciling you to your own death.