Planning Your Funeral: Where Should You Start?

Some people leave very precise instructions about what should happen after they pass away. Your own funeral plans might not be eccentric, but if you want to have some control over how you're farewelled, how should you start making plans?

The Basics

Consider the basics of the funeral you'd want for yourself. Do you want it to take place in a church, a funeral home, or another venue entirely? Should the service be a religious one? Do you want to be buried or cremated? If you're to be cremated, what do you want to happen to your ashes? By asking yourself these fairly broad questions, you can help to narrow things down, allowing you to think of specifics.

The Specifics

The specifics can be as precise as you like. You might wish to include a guest list. Yes, this can include people who you wish to exclude. Be sure to periodically update your guest list as needed. You can also think of who you would like to conduct the service, and whether this is a priest or a celebrant. Consider whether you want there to be any particular readings or songs and if you want to nominate a favorite charity to accept donations in lieu of flowers or what kind of flowers you want.

Financial Arrangements

Think about how you intend to pay for your funeral. Without making funeral pre-arrangements to cover the cost, any planning is little more than a wish list. This is a good time to think about establishing a prepaid plan for your funeral, making regular contributions to a plan which will cover the relevant costs when the time comes. Doing this now also allows you to lock in the cost of goods and services at today's prices, insulating you from the effects of inflation. 

In the Loop

All your plans are of little use if nobody knows about them. Ensure that a family member or trusted friend is kept in the loop. You don't need to go through every detail with them, and all they need to know is that you've made a list of your preferences for your funeral, along with having made the necessary financial arrangements to cover the cost. Be sure to inform them where to obtain this information when the time comes. This could involve informing them where in your home you keep the relevant paperwork or by lodging the paperwork with your attorney. 

So if having some control over your own funeral is important to you, it's helpful to start making those plans. Reach out to a professional to discuss your funeral pre-arrangements