What does it really mean to have fully planned end-of-life arrangements? There’s much more to it than, purchasing an 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 andfor 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 honored. 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: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 —and an inscription.
- I've purchased interment rights/cemetery property.
- I've set aside money for cemetery fees, including .
- 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.
Plan a beautiful, personal remembrance
Particular passions, milestone moments and legacies created weave together to tell a unique story. The Insider’s Guide to Funeral & Cremation Planning will walk you through inspirational ideas and the simple steps to planning a very personal celebration. Fill out the form and a planning advisor will contact you to answer your questions and provide a customized estimate for final expenses.