Making plans for your own funeral might seem a little morbid, but it can be one of the biggest gifts you give to your loved ones. In the event of your death, you can save your family members the confusion, anxiety, and expense that go along with making last-minute final arrangements. A lot of people include their wishes for their final arrangements in their Wills, but this is a bad idea. Most of the time, your Will is not found – let alone read – until after the funeral is over. The best approach? Discuss your plans with your loved ones, and then put them in writing (it can be a simple handwritten letter), and keep them in a safe place. Also, make sure your family knows where to find your written plans if necessary.
What should you include in your plans?
- Let your family know what type of ceremony you’d like. Do you want a large, formal funeral; a small memorial service; a wake?
- Spell out what you want to have happen during the ceremony. Do you want a certain song sung? Certain scriptures or poems read? Would you like someone in particular to deliver your eulogy?
- Choose whether you want to be buried or cremated, and let your family know what you want to have happen to your remains. Where do you want to be buried? In what type of casket? If you prefer cremation, do you want to have your ashes kept in an urn or scattered in a certain location?
- Make sure your expenses are covered – if you don’t have death benefits to cover your funeral and burial expenses, then you’ll want to set aside some savings to take care of the cost. Be cautious about pre-paid funerals; they’re seldom a good deal.
- Remember to review your plans every few years to make sure they’re still what you want.