While no two funerals are ever the same, the funeral planning checklist most people follow is almost always identical. The steps on these checklists include things like selecting a casket, choosing a plot, and purchasing flowers for the service. For many of us, these steps are straightforward and seem like a no brainer. However, there are also many things that people often forget when planning a funeral.
Whether you a pre-planning your funeral or one for a relative who has passed away, it’s important to remember that a funeral is for the living, not the deceased. A funeral is about providing a family with closure and saying a final goodbye to a loved one. Too often when planning a funeral, the family makes choices off what they think the deceased would have liked. But this is the problem. The deceased isn’t here to enjoy it, and almost all of the guests aren’t going to remember these details either.
It is important to have a budget and stick to it. A conversation about the funeral budget is one that every family should have. Make sure you know if your loved ones have already set money aside to cover funeral expenses when they pass away and how it can be accessed. You should also talk about how much of the estate should be spent on the funeral if there is no dedicated account. If you ask most people, they would rather their loved ones use the money for themselves than spend a large sum of it on the funeral expenses.
Ask yourself, at the last funeral you went to, do you remember what the casket looked like? Some families feel like the more expensive options should be purchased because it means you love and miss the deceased that much more. Ultimately it’s up to the family to decide what items they buy. With that in mind, try to decide if you feel like an individual item is necessary. If it is, then purchase it, but don’t put yourself over budget because of it. Having a dedicated budget will help make sure you give your loved one a dignified goodbye without putting any financial stress on your surviving family members.
While a loved one’s will may specify their preferences, make sure the family also knows what they are. If you are unable to locate a will or if it doesn’t specify, your family may argue when deciding between burial or cremation. Some people want to embalmed so their family can have a viewing, others do not. These are all important decisions to make and talk about when planning a funeral. By having a talk with your family about how to care for your remains, you can make sure that they will follow your wishes and can have closure knowing that this is the option you wanted.
An often overlooked aspect of funeral planning is making sure your family knows where they can find important paperwork when the time comes. This includes things like your will, bank account information, and life insurance policies. Whoever the executor of your estate is should know where all of these important pieces of paperwork are kept so that they can be easily obtained when legal paperwork is being filed, and funeral arrangements are being confirmed.
Planning a funeral involves so much more than just the actual arrangements for the service. What many people often forget is to make sure their family understands their wishes. This can be accomplished by having a talk about finances, caring for remains, and where to find important documents. Without this information, the process of planning a funeral can become very stressful for your family. Rather than comforting one another and preparing to say goodbye, their attention is on arranging the service.
Originally published by Colonial Funeral Home blog.
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