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  • Writer's pictureNick Black

Planning Your Own Funeral? Here’s How to Get It Right

Lucille Rosetti

We spend our whole lives fearing death, but what if instead of running from it, we decided to face it and plan for the inevitable? Planning your own funeral may seem grim, but getting your final wishes in order can help you process your feelings about death and protect your loved ones as well. So, give yourself peace of mind and start for your final chapter with these basic steps.

Be Detailed in Your Funeral Plans

If you’ve decided to take the smart step in planning your own funeral, you are taking a huge step in protecting your family from worry and stress. Assembling a detailed funeral plan well ahead of time means that your loved ones will not have to make those lengthy choices while also going through the stages of mourning. Try to stick to a checklist to make sure you have all points covered in your funeral plan. Trivial details, such as the songs to be played or words spoken, can be easy to overlook unless you have them pre-written into your plans.

One decision that could take some time is what should be done with your body after passing. Burial or cremation are your two main options, and you may need to take religious concerns, as well as costs, into consideration when making your choice. Of course, you could also consider some alternative burial methods, such as becoming part of a coral reef.

Come Up with Ways to Pay Expenses No matter what your memorial wishes may be, you will need to come up with a financial plan to cover funeral costs and final expenses. This is the primary way funeral pre-planning helps protect your loved ones, so be sure to cover all the ways you can offset these costs. Final expenses can refer to anything from leftover medical bills to the mortgage on your home.

Life insurance is generally the best way to make sure these costs are fully covered and your family is taken care of. However, you take that protection one step further by looking into the benefits of additional burial insurance. Buying burial insurance is a thoughtful financial step to make sure your funeral costs are covered, but your loved ones can also use these funds to pay off debts and other expenses. The average cost of burial insurance is $50 a month, depending on age, gender, health, and coverage levels, so do your homework to find out if this kind of insurance could benefit you. A final way to offset expenses is to find ways to save on funeral costs altogether. Planning ahead allows you the time needed to really weigh your options and negotiate lower prices on any prepaid services.

Talk to Family About Your Plans and Final Wishes Thinking about your funeral plans is a good first step, but you also need to take some time to discuss your decisions with loved ones. Talking to a spouse, a child, or even a parent about your death can be uncomfortable, but you need to have this chat in order to make sure your last wishes are fully respected. Choose a time when everyone is calm and take your time going over details. You may want to break up the talk or get it over with in one shot. Just be sure to do it, and also be sure to talk about your choices with a legal expert. An attorney can help you with the legal paperwork needed to confirm your final wishes, such as a living will or advanced care directives. Talking with an attorney will also allow you to make sure your estate plans are in order, including any wills or trusts you need to protect your financial legacy.

Telling your loved ones how you want to be honored after you pass can help make the grieving process easier for them. One good suggestion is having a memorial garden installed by a landscaper in a loved one’s backyard. Prices for a landscaping service in New Orleans range from $573 to $2,877. It can also be something simple, such as giving them items of clothing that they can make into a pillow or quilt, or choosing some of your favorite pictures of yourself that they can hang on the walls in their homes. Whatever you decide, your loved ones will take comfort in knowing that they will remember you the way you want to be.

Planning your own funeral does not have to be the dark deed you imagine it to be. You can use the experience to lighten your mood about death and allow your family time to process your final wishes and eventual passing. So do yourself and your loved ones a favor and be brave enough to plan and talk about your own death, funeral, and end-of-life wishes.

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