What do you remember about the first funeral you ever attended? Chances are, it was an emotional time for you. Death is a touchy subject, and it can be a daunting task to consider the passing of our loved ones, let alone our own death.
However, speaking about death and its ramifications is a healthy part of life. When you spend time considering the future, and the end of life, you can plan ahead to ensure that your legacy is sound and that when the time comes, your family will be able to grieve your passing without worrying that they haven’t honored your last wishes.
There are two groups of people who will guide you through this process: medical doctors and funeral directors. Just as it’s important to find the best medical doctors for your needs, it’s important to find a reputable funeral home. The right funeral director can help you through what is called the “pre-planning” process.
Pre-need plans, as these plans are referred to, can help you determine where your remains will be kept (buried or otherwise), what the cost of your funeral service will be, what can be done if you die far from home, and what packages are available. Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy a package, and you don’t need to prepay, if you don’t want to. The most important thing is to document all of your wishes and make sure they can be found by your loved ones.
Although it’s counterintuitive, avoid writing down your plans in your will. Wills can frequently get lost, misplaced, or they may never be found at all. Document everything in a separate place, keep copies in your home, safety deposit box, and with your next of kin. Then, be sure to have a casual discussion with your family in which you tell them your plans. Remember, communication is key and will help your family in the long run.
Cremation vs. burial
When considering the costs of your future funeral, you’ll undoubtedly run into the “cremation or burial” dilemma. On one hand, many consider burial a more traditional way to be memorialized. On the other hand, burial costs can be exorbitant. Preparation of the body, including embalming, can range in price, but averages to $800. Then, there’s the use of a hearse, fee for the service, transportation of the body to the funeral home, and any memorial cards you’d like to be printed.
When all is said and done, a burial funeral can cost thousands of dollars, well before even considering a headstone or cost of a casket. Another thing to consider is that as our society becomes more global, more and more people will leave their hometowns to work in larger cities, leaving you and your memorializing burial plot behind.
If cost, flexibility, and closure are all important to you, you may want to consider cremation as a real alternative. When choosing cremation, you may not be sacrificing a service. Many funeral homes offer a remembrance ceremony alongside cremation services. This will cost more, naturally, but it will offer some closure to your friends and family. Ultimately, when selecting a cremation service, it’s important to look for a business that is supportive, caring, and sensitive, such as Legacy Cremation Services.
When preplanning your funeral, speaking with a cremation expert will help you determine where you’d like your ashes scattered or, alternatively, if you’d like to be housed in a columbarium (a great alternative to having a headstone in a cemetery). You may also be able to provide your future cremation technician with a container of your choosing; something that has great significance to your family, for example.
After the funeral
Whatever your choices may be, it’s important to keep in mind that while pre-planning may be uncomfortable or even frightening, it doesn’t have to be either of those things. It can be an opportunity to give a gift to your family. Namely, the gift of being able to grieve your eventual passing in peace, without the stresses and costs that inevitably accompany a death.