The Benefit of Pre-Planning

We admit – it sounds creepy to plan your own funeral.  But passing away is something that happens to all of us, so it’s better to plan for it than not to.

Most people tend to overlook the fact that this is one of the best things you can do for your family.  By making plans and arrangements in advance, you’re sparing your family hard decisions at a time of great sorrow on their part.

Here’s why: when a death occurs, the final arrangements must be made within 48 hours of the person’s passing away.  If a family is forced into that situation without any planning they have to make many extremely important decisions, as well as major financial purchases, within a small time frame.  If they have no idea what you wanted, they may make decisions that don’t fit what you wanted (for example, complete funeral services vs. cremation).

More important, though, is that their minds may not be always clear during that period and they might make mistakes. If the mistake were only as small as picking the wrong type of flower, then that would be fine. But they could get into a contract that would cost them a large amount of money over a long time period instead of a more affordable one.

When pre-planning your final arrangements, here are some general guidelines to begin the process:

  • Consider religious and moral convictions, and discuss them with your family.
  • Determine your method of disposition (burial, cemetery, entombment, cremation, etc.)
  • Plan your ceremony by considering things like casket viewing, religious aspects, who should be included, etc.
  • Be aware and informed of the various bereavement entitlements such as veterans, unions, fraternities, etc.
  • Visit various funeral homes and interview several funeral directors, and determine which would meet your specific needs and wants.
  • Choose a funeral home and director where you think your family would be most comfortable.
  • Itemize the costs, considering the service, location, etc.
  • Think of how you’ll finance the costs.
  • Make your decision.

In closing, think of pre-planning as a form of legacy that you leave for your family.  The greatest gift you can give them in their time of sorrow is peace of mind.  And while planning won’t relieve them of the unhappiness of their loss, it will lessen the pain because all the difficult decisions will have been made in advance.