The Most Common Funeral Planning Mistakes
Planning a funeral—either for yourself or for a loved one—is not a task you tackle every day. In fact, it is the kind of task that most people encounter only a few times, each one fraught with fragile emotions, high tensions, and sweeping life changes that can knock you off your feet.
That’s why making mistakes during funeral planning is fairly common. Unless you know how the industry works and how to get the most out of your money, chances are good that you will overpay for services or miss details that are important to you and future generations. This list of funeral planning mistakes is not comprehensive, but it can warn you about where to look for red flags and remember what questions to ask during your funeral planning process.
- Waiting Until It’s Too Late: Understandably, most people do not start planning a funeral until after death occurs—or until a terminal diagnosis or other major health event puts a spotlight on the end of life. While you can (and many people do) successfully plan funerals and make arrangements in this short space of time, it is better to start early. Consider making funeral planning a part of the process when you write out your will or plan for retirement, as this will give you plenty of time and emotion-free distance to make the right decisions.
- Choosing the First Funeral Home or Funeral Pre-Plan Company You Call or Visit: It might sound strange to “shop around” for a funeral provider, but it is important to remember that a funeral home is like any other business—each will have different prices, different payment plans, different services and features, and different employees. Don’t think you have to choose the first one you call. This is a very emotional and intimate time, so it’s important to work with someone who makes you feel comfortable and who offers the right fit for you and your family.
- Being Unclear About Your Wishes: Funerals are very emotional. This is a time when family members (often estranged or traveling long distances) come together to try and make joint decisions about a large amount of money. Each of these things is tough on its own—combine them, and it is understandable how arguments and emotional breakdowns occur. By being clear about your wishes in a will, funeral pre-plan arrangement, or even just by writing everything down, you can help your family make the right decisions without the emotional and financial burden that accompany them.
- Not Realizing How Much Funerals Cost: Setting aside some money for a funeral is a great thing to do for your family. However, it’s important to know how much a funeral costs (particularly the one you wish for), including things like the gravesite, funeral services, and even travel for your loved ones. It’s always best to work with a professional funeral provider to get an accurate breakdown of costs—and then, if possible, to lock in those prices with a funeral pre-arrangement or pre-plan that will ensure you won’t be hit with rising inflation.