Preplanning / Planning Ahead
Many people plan for life events such as weddings and vacations well in advance, but many do not plan for something that is certain to happen, their funeral. While most people do not want to think about their own mortality, the time to preplan your funeral is now. The primary advantages of prearranging your funeral are: to give you peace of mind to live more fully now; to relieve the burden on your loved ones in an already emotional time; and to ensure your funeral is carried out according to your wishes, eliminating the task of second-guessing what you would have wanted. Taking the time now to arrange your funeral is one less thing your loved ones will need to worry about once you’ve passed.
When planning your own funeral service in advance, think about the way you want to be remembered. Perhaps you would like a traditional funeral aligned with certain religious or ethnic customs. Or, a celebration focusing on great memories made with family and friends may be your preference. Maybe it's a combination of both. You can have one service, or several, to honor your life legacy. Preplanning and prepaying your funeral is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your family.
What you can do in advance
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why should I make preneed funeral arrangements?
- Do you have any assets to protect?
- Do you know how you want to be remembered?
- Is there something you don't want people to forget about you?
- Do you have definite desires for your funeral services?
- Do you want to help make your desires possible after you're gone?
- Do you know about the various types of services available?
- Do you wish to lighten the burden for your family or executor/administrators?
- Does more than one close family member live elsewhere?
- Does your pastor ever go away on vacation?
- Are you over 21, the age of majority?
- Do you travel outside the Centre Region?
- Do you want to know how the decisions you make now will support your family as they begin the grieving process?
- Do you want burial or cremation and what type of casket or urn do you prefer?
- Do you want to choose the type of service you want, for example, religious, military, non-traditional, etc.?
- What funeral home do you want to choose?
- Which pallbearers, music and/or readings do you want at your service?
Different ways to begin the conversation
You know your family and how your loved ones might best respond to the topic. For some families, it might be a casual conversation over dinner or another family gathering. For other families, a formal meeting might be better suited. Regardless of your approach, the conversation is much easier to have when death is not imminent. Bringing up the subject with loved ones earlier in life when they are younger, and most likely healthier, makes the topic easier to discuss and keeps the focus on the legacy of life rather than an impending loss.
How do you begin the conversation about preplanning? Click here for tips to begin the conversation.
Whether you’re sharing plans for your own final arrangements with loved ones, or encouraging loved ones to make and share their plans with you, the conversation about planning ahead is an important one that every family should have. While no one wants to think about their death or the death of a loved one any sooner than they must, having the conversation in advance alleviates the need for potentially more unpleasant or difficult conversations in the future.
Prepaying your funeral reduces stress and financial burden on your loved ones after your passing. By prepaying your funeral, you keep your family from second guessing weather they spent too much or too little. Prepayment also protects you and your family from inflation, and the growth is non-taxable. Depending on your region, if your funeral costs are less than the amount you have put aside, those funds will be refunded back to your beneficiaries. For more information on what is applicable in your region, simply speak to your funeral director. Each year thousands of people decide to preplan and prepay their funeral. These plans are designed to be flexible and can accommodate the many changes that often occur in people’s lives.
Benefits of preplanning
- Peace of Mind - Between 70 and 75 decisions are made within the first 24-48 hours after death. It’s difficult to think rationally while making so many decisions within days of losing someone. Preplanning gives you, your family and friends peace of mind and information about your wants and desires.
- Convenience - It’s easy. Anyone can do it, and you can change your mind at any time. Be sure to keep your paperwork in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or home safe.