The Three Most Common Times to Start Planning a Funeral
Most people assume that funeral planning is something that happens once death occurs—which is part of the reason it gets such a bad reputation. There are few things worse than being forced to choose a casket, select a burial plot, and talk about ways to pay for a funeral while you’re still reeling from a sudden loss.
While the most common reason people plan a funeral is because a loved one has passed away, it’s not the only time for this task to get done. Here are the three top times for funeral planning and what each situation entails.
A Recent Passing
As mentioned above, the majority of people plan a funeral because they recently lost a loved one and have no other choice. This tends to be the most costly and most difficult way to go about the task. Because you are faced with immediate decisions (most people are cremated or buried within three days to a week following death), you don’t have the luxury of shopping around for the best deals or making decisions that are separate from your emotions. This can lead to overspending or even choosing a final resting place that is more in line with what you want, rather than what the deceased may have wished for.
Of course, just because you’re planning a funeral while working through your grief doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task. Funeral directors, family members, and grief resources all exist to help you make decisions and begin the process of starting your life over again—and oftentimes, planning the funeral can help you work through some of your emotions.
Facing a Terminal Diagnosis
Planning a funeral when a loved one is facing a terminal illness is a mixed blessing. On one hand, you have been given the gift of time. Most people in this situation have at least a few weeks to put their affairs in order and to reach out to loved ones to say goodbye. This means you can handle funeral preparations ahead of time, which can save money and help you to process your impending loss. You can also finalize a will or viatical, and determine how life insurance and funeral insurance can be used to help cover funeral costs.
On the other hand, planning a funeral knowing that it is just around the corner can be a very difficult thing to do. The best advice is to view the funeral as a celebration of life rather than of death, and to enjoy the time you have left to spend with the people that matter.
Pre-Planning a Funeral
Planning a funeral in advance is a great way to take financial control over your death while still leaving plenty of time and opportunity to enjoy life. For many people (especially those who like organizing or who have a solid financial plan in place), pre-planning a funeral is no more complicated than taking out a life insurance policy or finalizing a will. It can be done in a matter of hours, and with small payments spread out over several years.
Although most people begin pre-planning during their retirement years, it’s never too early to start considering your options. There will never be an “ideal” time to plan a funeral, and it is rarely a task people cherish—but it still has to be done. Taking the time now can help save you money and time, and to find a burial or cremation option that suits you best.