Though many of us plan big events like vacations, birthday parties, graduations and family reunions, we tend to fall short when it comes to thinking ahead about our own funerals.
In this article you will learn about three common mistakes of funeral planning. You'll also learn how to avoid them.
Mistake No. 1: Not planning a funeral in advance
The most common regret people have when dealing with the loss of a loved one is not knowing what that person wanted for his or her funeral arrangements. Family members are faced with planning a funeral quickly, while they are experiencing increased stress and difficult emotions. Planning your funeral in advance takes this hardship off family and allows them to grieve and heal.
Then why if—according to the National Funeral Directors Association—more than 62% of Americans agree that planning ahead is a good idea, do only 21% actually do it?
It’s challenging to consider your own passing, but planning a celebration of life in advance ensures your wishes are followed, and you can lock in today's prices on many items. Planning end-of-life details ahead of time gives you more control over what happens. You can specify everything from the type of service to your final resting place, readings and passages, songs, and even choose a catering menu and flower arrangements. This can be especially important if family members may not agree with your choices.
A funeral planning guide takes you through the process in private, providing conversation starters and inspiration, so you can begin to explore how you'd like to be remembered and talk about it with your family. A planner can then take you through a funeral checklist and establish your wishes in writing, giving you peace of mind that your preferences will be honored.
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Mistake No. 2: Not documenting and sharing your wishes
Maybe you've thought about your funeral in detail, right down to what you'd like to wear and which songs you'd like played. But if you don't document and share your wishes, who will know?
Some people discuss their wishes with family or friends, but they don't write them down. Others may just choose burial or cremation and think that's all that's needed. Grieving family members may not remember what you said you wanted. They may disagree about what they think you wanted. Planning allows you to confirm every preference and make your choices known to family members. By documenting your plans with a funeral home—and letting your family know—you eliminate the confusion and take pressure off your family.
When you plan ahead, don't forget one all-important detail: Tell your family the name of the funeral home where you made arrangements, so they know whom to contact when the time comes.
Read 6 Reasons Prepaid Funeral Plans Are the Best Gift You Can Give Your Children.
Mistake No. 3: Not paying for funeral arrangements in advance
In addition to making your wishes known and eliminating some of the stress on your family, planning ahead can save money. Like many things, funeral costs rise over time, and paying for them in advance lets you lock in today's prices on many items. For example, if you pre-plan your celebration of life and choose a casket that costs $2,000, even if you don't need a casket for 20 years, you've got a price guarantee. No matter how much the cost of that casket increases, you will never pay more than the original $2,000.
What’s more, a prepaid funeral plan helps ensure your family isn’t faced with financial hardship. Even if you've planned to pay memorial expenses through life insurance, those funds can take weeks or months to become available. Payment for a funeral is expected at the time of service, and not every family has thousands of dollars in cash on hand or a credit card to which it can be charged. Advance planning means less worry about money for your loved ones.
Bonus Mistake: Thinking your will has you covered
Many people believe that just because they've made funeral wishes known and allocated money for expenses in a will, that they're covered. The reality is that a will may not be consulted until days or weeks after death. By then, your service may already have taken place, and funds may be tied up in probate for months. Planning ahead solves both.
What Affects Funeral and Cremation Costs?
There are hundreds of decisions that must be made when planning a funeral, cremation or memorial service, and making funeral arrangements can often seem confusing or overwhelming. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to planning a funeral or memorial service, there are different costs and expenses to consider. Learn what to expect and get your free Guide to Understanding Funeral and Cremation Costs today.