If you've ever planned a funeral when a loved one died, you know it can cause heartache and hard feelings for the family members who need to handle the final arrangements. If nothing were prearranged or clarified ahead of time, there may be some conflicting details about the burial or service. Everybody will want to do what they "think" is best, which you know is not always true. Preplanning your own funeral ensures that your final wishes are carried out to their fullest.
By preplanning your funeral, you can spend time shopping around for the best prices and burial options on items such as caskets, urns, cemetery plots and insurance. You can also make sure that any special requests and preferences, such as songs and readings at your services, and funeral program and keepsakes are incorporated into your service. Just think about much less stress your family will have when your time does come. Wouldn't you rather have them celebrate your memory instead worrying about where to hold the service or even how to pay for it?
Not sure where to begin? If you have a funeral home in mind, start there. Then make sure you visit several more to comparison shop. Once you have an idea of what things cost now, set up a funeral plan either by purchasing a funeral insurance policy, putting money aside, or by paying for what you can. Remember to leave a buffer for inflation, as funeral prices generally increase every year. Talk to your family and express your wishes, including the type of service and burial you want.
Finally, once you have all this in place, contact an attorney, and have the details added to your will or estate planning documents.
Here are more resources to help you get started planning your own funeral or memorial service: