The death of a loved one is a stressful time. You have many decisions to make. What type of service? What type of casket? Do you want flowers or simply ask for donations to a favorite charity? If there is no guide in place, family members must make these decisions on the spot. You can save the strain for your family with some simple funeral pre-planning steps.
What to Do with the Body
Before doing anything else, decide what you want to be done with your body after death. Most people opt for either burial or cremation, but some choose donate their corpse to a university or medical school. It is important that to convey this decision to loved ones. It also does not hurt to have it listed in a letter to the family or in your last will and testament.
For those who want to donate their bodies to science check with a local university or medical school. There may be some restrictions on the condition of your body before they will accept it. Find out what their guidelines are and how to word it in your will in order to fulfill your wishes.
Finding a Mortuary
Once you know what you want to do, you need to find a mortuary in order to set up your plan. The director will help you with your funeral pre-planning checklist to ensure that you account for everything and there is nothing for your family to decide.
If burial is the plan, the director will help you pick out a casket. They can help coordinate with your chosen cemetery to help you locate a plot or mausoleum. They will also work with the cemetery to arrange for the actual burial and any services held on the property.
For those who plan cremation, a mortuary director helps coordinate any services before or after the cremation and getting your body to the crematorium. Some homes do have a crematorium on the premises to make the service more convenient.
The most important step in funeral pre-planning is getting it in writing. You should have a written document showing what type of service you want and any caskets or urns you have chosen. In addition, each item should have a cost listed.
Once you have finalized all the arrangements, you need to discuss payment. While some people can pay for the costs up front, others arrange for the cost to spread out over several months. Most mortuaries take into account any life insurance paid upon your death and will only require the remaining balance. Almost all will work with you to make sure the arrangement is within your budget. Keep a copy of all documents so your family is certain that your wishes are carried out.
Taking the time to go through funeral pre-planning can take the burden off loved ones during their time of grief. While it may sound morbid, picking out caskets, service arrangements, and burial plots in advance can bring great comfort to those you leave behind.