Are You Really Fully Planned?

Many people think once they’ve purchased cemetery property or let their spouse and children know they’d like to be cremated and have their ashes scattered along a favourite hiking trail they’re done making final arrangements. That’s not the case though.

What does it really mean to have fully planned end-of-life arrangements? There’s much more to it than choosing a plot, purchasing an insurance policy or sharing a wish. Though these steps are worthwhile and important, they’re not enough to ensure a smooth experience for loved ones after your death.

Thoughtful, thorough advance planning

Many people would rather not think about planning their funeral or cremation. But thinking through the details and setting aside the money for a funeral, cremation memorial or celebration of life:

  • Makes grieving easier for loved ones. Handling funeral and related planning decisions ahead of time can reduce the emotional burden on one’s family. They won't have to make choices for you while they are dealing with their grief.
  • Saves money. Research shows that families without a plan spend more on funeral and celebration arrangements—often out of a desire to make sure they’ve done enough. What's more, when you plan ahead, you lock in prices for some products and services, guarding against rising costs and inflation.
  • Ensures your wishes are honoured. Planning gives you the control to choose the stories and milestones you want to highlight and share with others. And your plans can be as detailed as you choose to make them. Those who thoroughly pre-plan often lay out specific wishes concerning the celebration venue, decorations, music, food, guest lists and more.

Even a short talk is a good first step

End-of-life planning often begins tentatively: a brief conversation with a spouse, an adult child, a close friend or a priest, rabbi or pastor. Such conversations can lead people to think about preferences around burial, cremation or human composting; cemetery or mausoleum property; the spreading of ashes and so on. Unfortunately, this is as far as many people get. It's definitely easier to sketch out ideas than to make concrete, written plans.

Often it’s not just the individual doing the planning who wavers during this process. Adult children, reluctant to even contemplate the passing of a parent, may slow or derail the discussion. It’s human nature to imagine that the people we love will be around forever. The good news is that even contemplating pre-planning is a solid first step. Once you’ve begun the process (and better understand the advantages of creating a comprehensive plan), subsequent steps are not difficult to take.

Complete planning typically involves working with a funeral provider to think through your choices and put your decisions down on paper, so that if something were to happen, your family wouldn't struggle to figure out what actions to take.


Get our free pre-planning checklist

Download our checklist, which lets you add dates as you complete each step of your planning. Be sure to keep it up to date—and share your plans with your family.

A complete pre-planning checklist

Use our checklist to keep track of the arrangements you've already made—and those you still need to work on.

  • I've written down my personal preferences.
  • I've chosen a headstone, marker or monument—and an inscription.
  • I've purchased interment rights/cemetery property.
  • I've set aside money for cemetery fees, including opening and closing costs.
  • I've purchased an outer burial container, if needed.
  • I've chosen a casket or urn that reflects my style.
  • I've planned a funeral, memorial or celebration of life.
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Plan a beautiful, personal remembrance

Each life is like no other. Particular passions, milestone moments and legacies created weave together to tell a story that is completely unique. The Insider’s Guide to Funeral & Cremation Planning will walk you through inspirational ideas and the simple steps to planning an unforgettable memorial of a loved one’s life—or your own when you plan in advance. Get started today.


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