Planning makes things easier, and that’s true of most important things in life. Making a list makes buying groceries easier. Mapping the route of a journey makes a vacation easier. And when it comes to the end of our lives, having a plan in place can make our funerals a little bit easier, too.
Of course, funerals themselves are never easy. They can be simple. They can be beautiful, and emotional, and meaningful celebrations of life. But no one looks forward to attending a funeral, and you probably aren’t very excited about planning one, either. But planning your funeral saves your family from having to do it when they’re struggling with their own grief. And no one knows what you want better than you do. Taking a bit of time to prepare now, while you’re healthy and clear-headed, can save a lot of trouble and uncertainty later.
Here are four things you can do today that will get you ready to plan your funeral.
Start Sooner Rather Than Later
Many people put off thinking about their funeral arrangements because planning seems uncomfortable or overwhelming. But there will never be a time better than right now to begin thinking about your funeral plans. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing things will be taken care of if anything happens to you. If your circumstances change in the future, you can always modify your plans. If not, your funeral plan will be safely kept with the funeral home until it’s needed.
Think About What Your Family Will Need
Funerals are for the living. Your funeral or memorial service should absolutely reflect your unique personality and final wishes, but it’s ultimately your loved ones who will benefit from the service. Many people think about being cremated without a funeral service as a way to keep things simple, but this is a disservice to loved ones who will want an opportunity to say goodbye.
Funerals and memorials are important grief rituals that provide space to share and process grief. Whether you wish to be buried or cremated, consider planning for some kind of service that will help your family heal, and talk to your family about your wishes to be sure that everyone is on the same page.
Assemble Your Essential Paperwork
You may already have a will or estate plan, but if not, it’s a good idea to discuss this with an attorney. You may also want to think about vital paperwork and information your loved ones might need after you die. Do you have a list of your bills and online accounts? Do loved ones know how to find your birth certificate, military records, and other important papers or legal documents? If someone were to write an obituary for you today, would they know what to put in it?
If not, it might be worth taking some time to write down biographical information like when and where you were born, the names of your parents and grandparents, where you worked, and so forth. Store this information somewhere safe, like a physical lockbox in your home, and tell a trusted friend or family member how to access it.
Meet with a Funeral Home to Formalize Your Plans
When you begin preplanning your funeral, you’ll need to make many decisions. Cremation or burial? Should there be a viewing? A wake? Where do you want to be buried or have your ashes scattered? Fortunately, you don’t have to decide all of this on your own. When you preplan with a funeral home, an expert will help guide you, answer your questions, and work with you to create a plan that meets your needs.
The funeral home will also help you make a payment plan for your expenses if necessary. When you plan in advance, you lock in your prices with the funeral home to protect against inflation and price increases. When you pay for your funeral expenses upfront, you know that your family will never have to worry about surprise costs.
Thinking about your funeral can feel daunting, but planning arrangements takes less time than you might imagine, and the relief you feel knowing your family will be relieved of a burden is well worth the effort. An experienced funeral director helps make the process as quick and easy as possible. You can reach out to any of our Chapman Funerals & Cremations locations to make an appointment with one of our preplanning specialists.