Funerals are something that nearly every single person will experience. Even if one doesn’t intend to have a funeral themselves, it’s likely that they’ll attend the funeral of someone else they know at some point. Yet, we often don’t put enough thought into planning a funeral for ourselves or what we want our end-of-life to look like. There’s so much emphasis placed on living and life — which is also important — but making plans ahead of time can lift some of the burden off the living who are supposed to carry out your wishes and ensure that your end of life wishes are actually met, rather than guessed at. Funeral directors and funeral homes can provide important services here, which the majority of people agree on. Even if you don’t intend on having a funeral (if you prefer to do a memorial service or cremation services instead), it’s still worth talking to funeral directors, because they may also help orchestrate and arrange those services.
Why Have a Funeral?
Above all, funerals help provide closure. We can say goodbye to the one we love who has died, eulogize them, and come together with family and friends to mourn. In a difficult time, getting family and friends together can also provide a wonderful support system. Funerals often provide a new perspective on life and death as well, and offer a wonderful place to reflect, remember, and heal.
Of course funerals tend to be more for the living than the one that has died, but it can be a beautiful way to celebrate and recognize someone’s achievements and accomplishments, and thank them for the impact they’ve had on a number of lives.
Why Should I Speak With Funeral Directors About My End of Life Wishes?
A Harris Poll survey showed that over 80% of respondents thought that funeral professionals were responsible for providing valuable services. Around 65% of people who are over the age of 40 also reported that they thought funeral directors and funeral homes were one of the best ways to get information about funeral arrangements. Funeral directors are experts when it comes to carrying out end of life wishes and have likely seen it all. They might be able to offer guidance or suggest different options, if you’re not sure where to start.
Almost 70% of those who responded to the Harris Poll said they’d rather arrange their own funeral service ahead of time and almost 90% thought that talking about their end-of-life wishes would be important and meaningful. Depending on the person, he or she may want more of a celebratory feel, instead of a somber remembrance. Others may wish to specify music or readings.
Still others may wish to consider alternatives to a burial, like a simple memorial service or cremation. Some funeral homes can even help you choose a coffin, burial ground, and headstone that you can pay for ahead of time. When you pass, everything is taken care of.
What are the Steps to Planning Your Own Funeral?
You’ll want to arrange for how you’ll be transported to the funeral home or other space and set up your pre-arranged funeral plan. This often includes arranging for funeral services, cemetery arrangements, and any funeral or memorial items (like a headstone, casket, and so on). Alternately, you can state that you would prefer to not be buried and instead be cremated.
Some may even write their own obituary to be released upon their death. Taking care of any estate, financial, or administrative affairs beforehand is also important. Some of this your living relatives may have to do (like sending death notices or filing death benefit claims).
AARP reports that one in three people have done some type of pre-planning for their funeral and one in four people have already completely paid for their funeral ahead of time.
In short, spelling out your end of life wishes ensures that your desires are met with dignity and relieves some of the strain on the living once you pass. It can ultimately make a difficult time much more peaceful.