Who Should Be in Charge of Funeral Planning: the Funeral Home or a Family Member?
In almost all cases in which you make financial arrangements during the funeral planning stages, it will be necessary to choose a beneficiary or executor. This will be the individual who spends whatever money you have set aside for the funeral and who is called upon to make decisions regarding products, services, and payment arrangements.
Putting the Funeral Home in Charge
Funeral homes employ one or more funeral directors to assist families in the process of making burial arrangements and in orchestrating a final service to commemorate the life and death of a loved one. It is their business to minimize the hassle as much as possible, and to ensure that all family members feel comfortable and accepting of the situation at hand.
Because a funeral director is an unbiased professional, he or she is often best situated to follow a designated funeral plan as set out by the deceased during the funeral planning process. If you have chosen particular style of burial and/or accoutrements that are important to you, the funeral director can be sure to adhere to your wishes and not go above or below what you specified. It saves your family the task of making decisions during a period of mourning, and relieves them of the burden of arguing amongst one another for what might or might not have been your vision.
Finances also play a role in how important it is to have a funeral director in charge of the funeral planning. Although you can ensure that the money you set aside is used on the funeral, this choice does mean that your family members cannot access the funds for personal reasons related to bereavement and the burial process.
Putting a Family Member in Charge
Entrusting your burial arrangements to a family member is one of the most personal decisions you can make. In addition to placing your complete trust in the ones you love, you are ensuring that all funds and decision-making powers are kept close to home.
For your family members, this presents a unique opportunity to personalize the grief process. For example, by choosing a casket, floral arrangements, or an official to perform the services, many of the bereaved find a kind of solace that can only come from attending to details and doing as much as possible to accomplish everything with honor and respect. In some cases, this can also bring separated family members together and repair damaged relationships.
However, because this is such a personal process, there are potential drawbacks, as well. Depending on your family dynamics, there might be animosity regarding the individual chosen to finalize the burial decisions. This is especially true if your funeral plan includes putting money in a trust and naming one person as your beneficiary, since there might be disagreements or jealousy over the way the finances are handled.
Funeral Planning Made Easy
Every family and every bereavement process is different, so there is no single answer as to what type of funeral pre-plan is best for you. However, by taking the time to address these issues in advance and talking with your loved ones to ensure they are comfortable with the decisions you make, you can save your family quite a bit of time, money, and heartache, and ensure that your funeral is paid for and laid out exactly as you wish it to be.
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By Amy Johnson