When thinking about funeral pre-planning, the first thing that comes to mind is usually a checklist. A checklist can be helpful when you are trying to figure out what tasks to complete before your loved one passes away. Let’s go through some of the items on this list so you know what to do in order for everything to unfold smoothly after death.
Creating an after-death care plan is in your best interest, and in the interests of your loved ones who will experience your passing. That’s why we encourage you to have the conversation now. Any event in life benefits from advanced planning because you get to think more deeply about what you want and influence the outcome. It is far better to talk about your funeral wishes (as well as your advanced healthcare directives – on which The Natural Funeral can also advise) when you are in a clear, coherent place. The onset of a crisis limits our focus and attention and decision-making capacity.
Why is funeral pre-planning important?
Quite simply, because it allows you to make thoughtful, considered decisions while you:
- Have the time and energy to reflect on what is important to you.
- Avoid making difficult decisions under pressure.
- Communicate your wishes to those who will be carrying them out.
- Save money – pre-planning can often guarantee your family will never have to pay more for your funeral or burial service.
Finding the right funeral home
Without prior knowledge, many families tend to contact the nearest funeral home and make all the arrangements without even shopping for funeral-related services. This can result in overpaying for services that you don’t really need. It is recommended to contact as many funeral homes and find the right one that you are most comfortable with.
Choose the type of disposition
Whether you choose a conventional burial or green burial, flame or water cremation, or Body Composting (Natural Reduction) is entirely up to you. Our holistic funeral coordinators and our advanced planning consultants will help you to make that important decision. We will advise you on how to purchase an ecological coffin, headstone, urn, and other items like remembrance cards.
Plan for memorials and tributes
If there are any events planned after the funeral service, it is best to discuss with the family members who wish to attend. Will there be a reception? A graveside service? Are any donations to charity in lieu of flowers being organized? Do you wish charity donations to be made in your name.
It is also important to think about who will take care of your funeral arrangements if you are unable to do so yourself. You may choose a family member, a friend, or the funeral home itself. Make sure you put this in writing and give the person you have chosen a copy of your funeral plan.
You should make your funeral personal so that those who are grieving can remember your life. You may personalize your funeral in a variety of ways to make it memorable for those left behind. You can personalize each of the following:
- Location and themes
- Friends to give eulogies
- Memories and gifts
Choose a final resting place
Whether you choose conventional cremation, water cremation, green burial or Body Composting (Natural Reduction), you should decide where the remains will be laid to rest. You have many options for graves, caskets, or urn designs that you can include in your pre-planning. When choosing water or flame cremation, you will also need to decide if you want your cremains scattered or whether they will be buried at a cemetery.
Choose a method of payment
Funeral homes usually require full payment at the time of service, so it is important to choose a payment method that you are comfortable with. You can choose to pay in full, make monthly payments, or have your loved ones handle the arrangements after you’re gone.
The most recommended method is to pre-pay for your funeral plan by opting for funeral insurance offered by the funeral home. This way, you know that your loved ones will not have to bear the burden of funeral costs when the time comes.
Don’t forget about your pets
Have someone take care of your pets when you’re gone. You can also get a funeral plan for them so that they will be well taken care of as well.
Make your final wishes
Finally, convey your wishes to family and friends. This can help to avoid any confusion or conflict after you’re gone. It is also a good idea to put your wishes in writing so that there is no ambiguity. Collaborate with your loved ones and get their thoughts and suggestions about your funeral plans.