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  • Camille Johnson

Exploring the Whys and How's of Planning Your Funeral Sooner Instead of Later

Our guest blogger, Camille Johnson writes - After my husband died three years ago, I realized I had no idea what he wanted for his funeral. We had a lovely ceremony, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it was what he would have wanted.

Camille shares with us helpful hints, how to plan ahead.

None of us likes thinking about the inevitable a whole lot, but sometimes it’s better to make plans ahead of time. Such is the case when it comes to funerals. Read on as we explore the whys and how's of making arrangements for your final rest.

There’s No Rush... Or Is There?

You might be thinking that planning your funeral can wait. You’re healthy, happy, and you have lots of time. However, that’s actually why now is the perfect time to get things lined up. The last thing anyone feels like doing when they get bad news is making their own funeral arrangements. What’s more, it saves your family members additional angst — both financially and emotionally — if something unexpected happens to you.

Money Matters

Funerals aren’t cheap, and in fact, they typically cost $11,000 or more. By planning ahead, you have the opportunity to figure out how to spare your family the expense entirely. You can earmark a savings account if you have cash reserves, or you can invest in burial insurance.

Burial insurance is just what it sounds like, only on top of taking care of your funeral and burial expenses, some policies also cover other expenses left behind, such as medical bills and credit card debt. If you decide to go this route, find an insurer who specializes in this type of insurance.

Emotional Reprieve

Planning ahead is more than just covering costs. It’s also a chance to make your wishes known. In the midst of their upset, trying to decide how to best honor your memory is an added burden on those who love you. If you have distinct ideas of how you would like your life to be celebrated, you can spell that out now.

Sometimes people have very particular plans for their final resting place. Perhaps you want to be cremated and your ashes spread in a certain beloved spot, or to donate your body to science. You might have a family mausoleum, but would rather be elsewhere. Or perhaps you want to select your casket.

You might have distinct ideas about services. Perhaps you would like some particular music played at your funeral, or a special flower showcased in the arrangements. Beyond that, you might have other ideas as well. As an example, if you’re an avid golfer, maybe what you would like to see is a memorial service at your favorite course — you can even have a tree planted as a tribute. Love the night sky? You can have a star named after you. Now’s your opportunity to make known whatever you desire.

Talking Things Through

Give some thought to what you think would feel “right” and what might be healing for your loved ones. Whatever you have in your mind and heart, now is the time to express those thoughts. Talking things through with loved ones can be awkward, but as Elder Law Answers explains, it’s an opportunity to provide peace of mind, both to you and them.

If it’s impossible to have the conversation face-to-face due to distance or discomfort, another option is to leave an explanatory letter — which you might want to do as a follow-up regardless, since it can reinforce details which could be forgotten or overlooked.

Death is never a comfortable subject, but it’s an inevitability for all of us. Consider making some plans now. It’s a chance to alleviate both financial and emotional stress for those you love, so they can focus on healing when the time comes.

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