There are some things that none of us want to think about, and funerals are definitely one of them. The reality is, though, that the steps to planning a funeral are relatively straightforward. Here’s what you need to get started with effective funeral planning that will give you peace of mind for the future.
Every year, two million people in the United States will die. A survey conducted by AARP found that one in every three people have considered at least some of the steps to planning a funeral, and one in four have actually paid for the funeral in advance. This is crucial, because a Harris Poll survey found that nearly 70% of people would prefer to take their own steps to planning a funeral rather than leave it entirely to others, and the only way to ensure that a funeral goes the way you want is to start planning now.
That same survey also found that nearly 90% of respondents felt that a discussion about the steps to planning a funeral would be meaningful. This suggests that what might feel painful could actually be more cathartic than harmful. And since 82% of people believe that a funeral service is a way to pay tribute to someone they love and admire, it’s a good idea to have a say in how your tribute should happen.
First Steps To Planning A Funeral
Over 85% of America’s funeral homes are owned privately, and this is a great place to start in planning. Funeral home owners and directors are skilled in helping you navigate difficult choices. One of the first steps to planning a funeral is contacting a funeral home of choice and getting their advice and help.
Choices To Consider
One of the next important steps to planning a funeral is choosing a form of disposition. The NFDA Cremation and Burial Report found that in 2015 48.5% of people were cremated and 45.3% were buried. Burial is typically the more expensive option, but also the most traditional and, for some, the most meaningful. Cremation can be much less expensive than a burial and allows for remains to be disposed of in unique and meaningful ways.
Planning A Service
Another of the important steps to planning a funeral is making choices about a good memorial service. The service should reflect the life of the person being remembered, but it should also include meaningful ways for loved ones and friends to say goodbye in a personal way. It also needs to have space and time for mourners to comfort and support one another. Some of the important choices to make include who will officiate, where the service will be held, what readings and music will be used, who will speak, and whether or not food will be provided and what it should be. If there is a burial and graveside service, pallbearers need to be chosen as well as a casket. After that, it’s important to decide what personal and unique touches should be included, like a memory board or a video.
When people lose someone they love, they naturally wish to express their grief and their support of surviving family. A traditional way to do this is with flowers, but it is also meaningful to request that people support charities or causes important to the deceased instead of sending flowers. Some people also choose to send money to support the hospice that cared for the deceased before their death, or to donate money to a cause that fights whatever caused the person’s death, such as cancer or heart disease.
No one likes to think about money at the moment of loss, so it’s a good idea to consider how to pay for the funeral before it happens. Payment can come from insurance, savings, credit cards, or even financing through a funeral parlor.
A funeral is a difficult time for everyone, but you can make it easier on yourself now and on your loved ones in the future by taking most of the steps to planning a funeral in advance.