When planning ahead for your funeral, there are many things to take into account that will relieve your family and loved ones of responsibilities to make very personal decisions on your behalf when the time comes.
Why Plan Ahead?
Some people don’t realize that it’s entirely possible to plan one’s funeral in advance while still in the prime of life. The advantages to planning ahead are numerous, such as locking in a price by paying in advance. Details and arrangements of ceremonies, funeral styles and even the smallest details of what’s to be said or played at the associated service can be pre-arranged. By planning ahead, it can be made clear to your family and relatives exactly what your wishes are. Costs can be estimated, and arrangements can be made for payment now or in the future. No physical exams are required, and you don’t need to fill out any questionnaires. You needn’t wait for the return of any documents or approvals from any authority.
What to Take Into Account
Some things to take into account are:
- A contact list of people to be notified upon your death
- How your obituary should read or what points should be included
- Where your memorial information and obituary should appear
- Your ideal cemetery lot details
- Your preferred casket type or crematorium urn type
- Your choice of vault or sectional crypt
- Your preferred type of funeral service (military, religious or non-denominational)
- The contact details of the funeral home you’ve chosen for your funeral services
- Details of the music, pallbearers, scripture or other readings and flowers you wish to have
- Speakers and potential eulogies
- The organizations or churches that should benefit from any memorial donations made in your name
If you’ve given your funeral serious thought, you likely know which people should handle the important details. You only need to inform them of what their responsibilities are and give them relevant instructions.
Be sure to give your estate executor a copy of your will. Any funeral planning documents discovered in safety deposit boxes during the estate settlement process will be of no use to an executor after your funeral has taken place.
Make sure that lists of insurance policies, retirement plan telephone numbers, safe-deposit boxes, bank accounts, accounting and law firm information, properties and mortuaries are in the hands of a representative of your choosing. Be sure they contact the Social Security Administration and/or the Veteran’s Administration regarding benefits for you.
Assign a power of attorney in the case of your death or illness to make sure that correct information can be accessed. Make sure that you’ve pre-arranged a power of attorney for your health care and made a living will so that your wishes can be carried out in case you’re unable to effect them personally.