I Want to Plan My Own Funeral, Where do I Start?
Although it might sound preemptive and a bit macabre to plan your own funeral, this kind of advance arrangement is becoming more and more common. Not only does pre-planning a funeral allow you to have more control over what happens to your remains after you pass, but it can also save your family quite a bit of grief and money.
Planning your own funeral can be as simple as making a list of your wishes and ensuring your family knows where it is, or as complex as paying for everything in advance (even going so far as to purchase the casket or arrange every detail with the funeral home). There is no wrong way to go about it, but here are a few suggestions for getting started.
Choose Your Final Interment Plan
Do you want to be buried? Cremated? Donate your body to science? How do you feel about embalming? Before you can make any concrete funeral plans, decide how you want your remains to be handled. This decision will determine your funeral costs and what kind of arrangements will follow.
Determine the Biggest Cost Items
Once you know how you want your remains to be handled, ask a funeral home for a price list or look online for a funeral cost guide. For burial, one of the biggest costs is the cemetery plot. For cremation, it might be a columbarium site or the cremation itself. Knowing how much everything costs can help you pick and choose what you want to pay for.
Pay for Items in Advance
Making advance funeral payments is the best way to save money on a funeral. There are several different ways to pay for funeral items. You can arrange it through a funeral home, contact a cemetery to purchase a burial plot, set up a funeral trust, purchase a pre-plan funeral package, buy funeral insurance, or even just set money aside in a special bank account. Sit down with a financial advisor to go over your options.
Write Everything Down
Whether you pre-purchase everything in advance or simply make decisions, put the information in writing and make it easily accessible. Store the information with your will or other financial papers, give them to a trusted family member for safekeeping, or keep a copy with your attorney. Making advance funeral plans is useless if no one knows about them.
Talk with Those You Love
No matter what you decide or where you store the information, it’s also important to talk with your family members about your plans. Sit down with those most concerned with your funeral plans and outline your wishes. Let them know what has been paid for and where the financial records are. Talk about your death in a way that is open and honest, so that there are no surprises when the unhappy event does occur.