Some of us may be better planners than others, but we can all identify with the ease and peace of mind that a well-thought-out plan brings. Pre-planning your funeral can bring that same sense of relief. It might not be the most comfortable topic to discuss, but getting everything in order now takes the potential stress and burden off of yourself and your loved ones.
Let’s Talk About Insurance
Insurance might not seem like a relevant topic when you’re discussing funeral planning, but it actually does apply here. Final expense life insurance, also known as burial insurance, is basically a life insurance policy whose benefit pays for the cost of funeral arrangements as well as any debts that may be left behind such as medical bills, credit card bills, and personal loans.
There are various coverage amounts, so you’ll want to take into consideration your desired funeral arrangements and whether you prefer to have some left over to go toward unpaid debts. You’ll also want to shop around and find a company with high BBB rating like Lincoln Heritage. Read reviews, do your homework, and opt for a company that specializes in the insurance type you’re after.
Put It On Paper
Unless your funeral plans are on paper, there is no guarantee that they’ll be followed. You can write it out on a sheet of paper or follow along with a funeral planning checklist that lays it all out for you step by step to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Once you have it in writing, what should you do with it? While there isn’t anything stopping you from putting it in your will, FindLaw explains estate and probate settlements generally don’t occur until after the funeral, meaning your arrangements would be discovered after the fact. With that in mind, put together a final arrangements document and ensure that all relevant family members and friends have a copy.
Consider All Your Burial Options
You might go into the initial planning process thinking it’s pretty simple and straightforward, but you’ll find that you have more options than you think when it comes to your burial options.
If you pick a traditional burial, you still must decide if you prefer in-ground or above ground in a lawn crypt, community mausoleum, or private mausoleum. Cremation comes with choices as well. Would you prefer that all your ashes be scattered, or what you like them housed in an urn that is buried in a gravesite, kept in a mausoleum, or given to a family member?
You’ll also need to think about the type of headstone (if any) you prefer, including the material, color, size, and personal details. And beyond all that, Yes! points out there are green burial options these days—everything from natural burial (sans casket and embalming) to wearing a biodegradable suit that ensures you decompose in an eco-friendly manner.
It might all seem a bit overwhelming, but if you have a funeral home in mind that you’d like to use, they can provide you with a detailed and visual list of your options.
Plan the Funeral Itself
One of the most in depth parts of the funeral planning process is, of course, planning the funeral itself. Will you have a traditional burial service or a more informal memorial service? Would you prefer a celebration of life ceremony instead? Will it be for immediate family members only or for extended family and friends too? Do you have preferences for flowers, music, readings, scripture, etc.? These are just a few of the questions you have to consider. There are no wrong answers—decide what feels right to you.
Pre-planning your funeral might feel a little bit odd, but that’s normal. You’ll be faced with some decisions that really make you think, but chances are the experience isn’t as difficult as you might think. In the end, both you and your family will have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honored.