5 Reasons to Plan Your Funeral Today
No one really likes to think about their own mortality, which officially makes funeral planning one of the least-fun things that you do with your week.
While you may have a general idea about how your final celebration of life should go, where you would like to be buried (or where your ashes will be scattered if you opt for cremation) there are dozens of other small decisions that will need to be made to ensure that your funeral goes off without a hitch.
Your friends and family members are likely to be under a significant amount of stress once you pass. Which means you can prevent additional pressure on them during an emotional time by planning your funeral in advance.
Here are some of the best arguments for taking the leap and documenting the decisions around your funeral — including how you intend to pay for the memorial service.
1. Reduce Expenses by Preplanning Your Funeral
Funerals can cost between $8,000 – $15,000, and costs rise regularly.
When you prepare for your funeral expenses ahead of time, your local funeral home may offer discounted services or reduced costs on items such as funerary urns, caskets and flower arrangements.
When you pre-pay for even a portion of your funeral, you are reducing the tugging that your family may feel between affording the cost of your funeral and trying to maintain a budget. It’s not unusual for costs to be significantly higher than expected and there are always last-minute expenses. Planning ahead of time reduces the surprises and can help you stay within your budget, too.
The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) has created a Bill of Rights for funeral pre-planning that ensures that you have all the rights and protections that you deserve throughout the process.
This includes a variety of options such as what should be included in your contract, which prices will be set and which can vary over time and more.
2. Make Your Own Decisions
Do you have a favorite song that your children don’t love?
When you plan your funeral in advance, you can create a send-off that is exactly what you want.
Themed funerals are becoming more common, with football lovers having everything from table covers at their shared meal to flower arrangements in their favorite team’s colors. If you think there’s a chance that your family members won’t agree with your selections, get everything down on paper with your funeral director so there is no question when the time comes.
You may want to discuss options with your family members ahead of time to be sure you’re adding in favorite family hymns or poems that might otherwise be forgotten.
While your family will do their very best to honor who you were in life, planning your final party is a special way to let friends and family members know what you were thinking as you went through the process of planning.
3. Save Friends and Family Members from Stress
As your family members begin to come together to celebrate your life, it’s inevitable that there is some stress involved in this emotionally-charged atmosphere.
One sibling may have a strong personality and want to make all of the decisions, while others feel as though they are being left out of the process.
This can cause hard feelings that last for years — certainly not the way you want to be remembered!
Your spouse or your children’s idea of a funeral could vary dramatically in everything from the pastor to the location to the flowers that are included as part of your service.
Save your family members from the stress associated with making these weighty decisions by taking the necessary steps to create pre-planning documents which can serve as a benchmark for your wishes.
4. Work Through Personal Emotions
Aging and death are an inevitable part of life. Perhaps they aren’t one that we want to consider on a regular basis, but it’s healthy to keep in mind that for every beginning there is an ending.
The process of planning your own funeral or planning together with your spouse can help you work through some of the emotions that are likely bubbling to the surface as we age.
It may feel morbid to others that you are openly discussing your funeral arrangements, but it can prove to be a helpful coping mechanism as we come face to face with our own mortality.
It may also be helpful for your children and grandchildren to begin realizing that you will not be in their lives forever — a great reminder that every moment we have on this earth is precious and should be treasured.
5. Lessen Financial Burden on Family Members
If paying for your memorial service and all the associated costs is likely to be a strain on your finances, you may have the option of financing these final expenses so you can spread the costs over time.
Pre-planning your funeral is a gift to your loved ones, as you are acknowledging that there is often a hefty cost associated with funerals and final expenses. Extended health problems towards the end of life can quickly deplete funds that were originally set aside for a funeral, making a prepayment for your service even more important.
If you cannot afford to pay for all of your funeral expenses ahead of time, be sure to keep excellent documentation of the costs that have already been handled to reduce confusion when the time comes.
Your funeral can be thought of as your final farewell, a way to remind each of your loved ones how much they meant to you during your life.
Whether you choose a memorial service and graveside ceremony or want to go in a more non-traditional direction, creating solid documentation of your wishes helps provide your loved ones with a roadmap as they make arrangements.
Taking the additional step of planning for payment can help dramatically reduce the pressure on family members, allowing them time to process their emotions and grieve naturally.
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap