Planning a funeral doesn’t have to be one of the hardest things you do in your life time. Good planning starts many years before that day comes. Most everyone wants to be able to get most of or all of the planning done so their families are not burdened with the funeral planning task. If you are not sure how to start and where to look here are a few basic starting points you might want to consider.
One of the first steps is to contact the funeral home and set up a meeting with him or her. The funeral director can answer all your questions you may have concerning the planning process. The funeral director will talk about being either cremated or buried. Keep in mind that you are the boss here – you call the shots. The funeral director is going to make suggestions and have give you basic direction in the planning process – but the final decisions are yours.
Generally cremation is cheapest for those on a budget or that desire to have their remains taken to another state or location outside the general area. If you decide on cremation the funeral director will offer you a selection of Urns that you can choose from to have your ashes put into. Funeral director will also need to know if you will desire a specific family member to be given your remains or if you will have them laid to rest at a cemetery. If cremation is your choice the funeral director will also discuss what laws will affect the disposal of your ashes and what permissions if any you will need. For some people cremation is not a choice. Sometimes that is based on religious reasons and sometimes people find that even in death it is too morbid.
For those that wish to be buried in a cemetery there will be a few question they will need answered. First you will need to pick out the casket you desire. There are wide ranges to choose from with many different styles and add-on features to consider. Some will be plain and simple for those that are looking to save cost. Others may have decorative angels on each corner or trimmed out in plated gold. Still others may have lettering that can be added to the lid or sides. What ever style you are looking for the funeral director can assist in finding it for you.
You will need to decide what cemetery you wish to be buried at. Most people have a cemetery that other family members are buried and will pick the same one. If you do not have a cemetery already picked out the funeral director will show you a listing of all available cemeteries in the area. Sometimes the funeral director can assist in finding a plot and obtaining cost details. However in a lot of cases you will need to contact someone at the cemetery to take care of the details. These details will include location, number of plots desired and over all cost. The cemetery will help set up a payment plan if needed.
Once all of these basic areas are covered the funeral director will need to know who will perform the funeral service. If you have a pastor of a church already this is where you will need to inform the director of his name, address and phone number. Also if there are any specific instructions you wish to have followed concerning your funeral inform the funeral director at this time. These instructions may be about flower arrangements, monetary donations to family and who will handle the eulogy and who will be the contact person after your death. The funeral director also needs to know if you desire an open or closed casket. Having an open casket is considered best when there will be a viewing (aka: visitation). However some people will opt to have a closed casket. Do you want a viewing (aka: visitation)? Some find this the start of the healing after a death in the family. They will use this time to share memories they have and reacquaint themselves with family they haven’t seen in a number of years. Graveside service or memorial service is another choice you will need to make. Some people choose to have both – a private graveside service for immediate family only and a memorial service for family and friends to gather. A graveside service is most commonly used. Cost is one of the biggest factors to consider and will play a large part in your choices. Talk to the funeral director about payment plans and see what is available. But what ever you choose the choice is yours to make.
Once you have completed this part of the planning process it would also be a good idea if you haven’t already done a will to do so now. This can be done with or without an attorney. However it is still advisable to seek legal advice to insure that your final wishes are followed through on. Some of the main concerns here will be any personal property, money and power of attorney. After you have your will completed get it notarized and keep it in a fire protection safe or lock box. For some obtaining a safety deposit box from a bank and if you used an attorney he or she will maintain a copy on file.
There is no doubt that preplanning a funeral is going to be a very emotional task to complete. But in the long run you will be able to walk away at ease knowing your family is not left with this burden after you pass away.