The Essential Guide to Planning Your Funeral in Advance
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The Essential Guide to Planning Your Funeral in Advance


When someone you love dies unexpectedly, the grief feels crushing, and in the midst of funeral planning, you can barely give yourself time to mourn. Finding yourself in charge of planning a funeral with no prior preparation is stressful, expensive, and time-consuming.

No one likes to think about their own mortality. But making important decisions about your funeral well before you pass away can make the process much easier for your loved ones when that time comes. Here’s how to start planning your funeral in advance, finance the ceremonies, and ensure that your final wishes will be respected.

Figure Out Financing

It’s possible to plan a funeral on a tight budget, but funerals can be quite expensive. According to Finder and based on data from the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral and burial is $7,360. How can you prepare accordingly? Some people will simply choose to start a special savings account for future funeral expenses and make regular deposits. However, burial insurance is generally a better option.

Burial insurance is primarily intended to cover the cost of your funeral. But these policies come with other benefits, too. For instance, some burial insurance policies will also cover medical debts and personal loans in the event of your death, which will protect your loved ones from shouldering these financial burdens. Before choosing a policy, think about what kind of funeral arrangements you want or if you’d like to enroll in a more comprehensive plan that will cover additional debts and bills, too.

Designate Durable Power of Attorney

Before you start thinking about what your funeral ceremony will look like, you need to decide who will be in charge of carrying out your plans. You should designate a durable power of attorney for health care. This will allow you to choose a trusted family member or close friend to make important decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

If you don’t do this in advance, a judge will make the choice for you in the event of serious illness or disability. Make sure to discuss these responsibilities with the person you have in mind before making a final decision. These conversations can be difficult for some, so be sure to approach the discussion from a place of trust and understanding.

Write Down Final Wishes

To begin planning your funeral, think about the big picture. You might want a traditional burial, or perhaps you would prefer to be cremated. You may even be intrigued by nontraditional options, like a green burial or donating your body to science. You should also consider whether you want your funeral to include any religious practices. Whatever you decide, ensure that you have it in writing. Once you have a general idea of what kind of funeral you want, you can move on to the specific details of the ceremony.

Keep Funeral Planning Documents Organized

Keeping your funeral planning documents organized is essential to ensure that your wishes are clearly stated and can be easily accessed in the event of your passing. One of the best ways to organize these documents is to create a PDF file that you can easily store on your computer or external hard drive. This will allow you to keep all of your important information in one convenient place, while also ensuring that it is secure and protected from accidental damage or loss. Additionally, organizing these documents using a PDF format will make them easy to share with your loved ones, helping them to carry out your final wishes with confidence and clarity. If you need to add pages to a PDF, one method is to use the PDF page extractor feature which allows you to extract pages to create a brand-new PDF.

Plan Your Ceremony

Do you want your family to hold a traditional wake for you? Or would you like your loved ones to gather in your honor at a place that you loved, like a particular park, to remember you? Now is the time to consider these options. You can also designate anyone you would like to speak.

Friends living far away who should be notified after you pass, or any other personal touches you would like to see at the ceremony. ASD recommends touching details like displaying photos, hanging floral wreaths incorporating your favorite colors, and giving small, sentimental items for guests to take home.

Many people do not think about what they want for their funeral until illness strikes. But considering your end-of-life plans does not need to be morbid or depressing. In fact, it can bring you peace of mind. By writing down your vision for your funeral, putting the right people in charge of important decisions, keeping your documents organized, and ensuring that your family will be able to afford the ceremony, planning your funeral will be a simple process for your loved ones that will allow them the opportunity to grieve appropriately.

- Gracefully Greying Contributing Writer Courtney Rosenfeld

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