Funeral and Memorial Service: Why You Should Plan Your Own

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Obviously, planning a funeral of your own is usually not a thing anyone can be excited about. Honestly, who will be?

However, did you know? Doing so is essential and highly valuable.

How about a ritual joke to cheer up before we get down to business?

I think I found a good one…

It surprised me a little when I received the receipt from the funeral home. At the bottom of the receipt, after the invoice, he said, “Thank you. Please come back.”

Seriously though, if you’re thinking of planning your own funeral ahead of time, we compliment you. It only takes the courageous to do that, and it’s worth it.

In order to help you more on your quest, in this article, you will learn why you should plan your own funeral, how to go about it, and learn about four different ways to pay for the funeral.

Why You Should Plan Your Own Funeral

Why you should be planning your own funeral is quite simple

If you are not planning your own funeral, your family will have to do it, and it will be in their saddest time.

Here is the hard truth for you.

After passing away, your family will have dark times, filled with pain and sorrow. They will miss your absence so much.

Planning your funeral would not only be a difficult choice for your friends and family, but they also experience emotional stress because of your passing.

We don’t like to think about their mortality, much less plan it. It would be best if you took the time to do this for your family so that they do not have to go through the greatest emotional stress in their lives.

Here is Some Very Good News

Planning your own memorial is an effortless process; in fact, it will take less time than you would ever think it will before you get things done.

All you need to do is a precise documentation of how you want to be remembered.

The best thing about the planning is that you only get to do it once, and you might even forget you ever did.

If you can commit a little time planning this in advance, it will pay off immensely in the future.

Eventually, you will save your family the pain, emotional stress, and the money, and it will further show them how much you loved them because of what you did.

It Would Help if You Documented Your Plans, or They Are Not Worth It

Usually, you could use a piece of blank paper, and that would be enough.

Irrespective of how you do it, you need to document your final desires, or the whole preparation will be useless.

In addition, even though you might transcribe the funeral plan, you need to keep it in a place where your family could easily access them.

The idea is that when you pass away, your family will naturally find your ultimate wishes so that they can follow your instructions. This will make it easier for them not to make these difficult choices when they are sad.

In the end, how you document your wishes does not matter. All you have to do is do it so that your family can use it.

How You Can Plan Your Funeral

The process of planning your own funeral is a process you will be familiar with.

And I am very serious about this

Think of the process this way

If you own a vehicle or you have ever bought. You will understand this more

Think back to your last car buying experience. The process must have been like this

  • You calculated the budget
  • Decide the type you want, whether a car, truck, van.
  • You establish the brands and models you are interested in
  • Compare the models to find out which one you prefer
  • Select a model
  • Selected color, internal and external options
  • Finally, you bought the vehicle

The process of planning your funeral is similar to the one above. The difference is you won’t receive the item now, and you will be choosing funeral-related options instead of a car.

Burial, Cremation, or Donation

The biggest choice you will make is whether you want them to bury, cremate, or donate your body to science.

Your budget can play a role in deciding which one to choose.

Keep in mind that the cost of a funeral varies greatly between these three options. On average, a regular funeral service will cost between $ 7,000 and $ 10,000. In comparison, a cremation service will cost between $1,500 and $5,000.

It usually won’t cost you anything to donate your body to science.

With affordable funeral life insurance plans to cover final expenses, most people can take out insurance for an amount needed to cover any memorial they want.

What to do with the remains if you choose funeral or cremation

If you decide to be buried, you will need to choose what you want to do with the coffin. If you want to be cremated, you must choose where the urn or ashes will be placed.

Either you believe it or not; there are several options. Each has its pros and cons, so decide which one works best for you.

In the Ground for Burial

This is the general burial, so to say. The coffin will be placed inside a tomb that is about six feet underground.

In the Ground Lawn Crypt for a Burial

A lawn crypt is a prefabricated tomb usually made of concrete and steel, through which several caskets can be stacked on top of each other.

Lawn crypts are sometimes mentioned in the ground mausoleums as they are essentially a completely closed shell, which preserves the coffin much better than a buried vault.

Above Ground Lawn Crypt for A Burial

This is the same as an in-ground lawn crypt, but it’s above ground. It allows for the proper water drainage to ensure the enclosed casket is preserved.

In a Private Mausoleum Above Ground for Burial or Cremation

The mausoleum is an overground structure built specifically to house the remains of one family. Private mausoleums are very expensive, but a private mausoleum is the best option if you want exclusivity and privacy for the whole family.

In a Public Mausoleum on Land for Burial or Cremation

Public mausoleums were built in many cemeteries. This means that anyone can choose to place their remains there. Normally, those who choose this feature simply do not want their remains to be placed underground.

The very essential thing that you should know about the community mausoleum is there is no privacy. Therefore, other people you did not know will be placed alongside with you.

Natural Burial

In this case, there won’t be an embalming fluid, casket, or burial vaults. Instead, the remains are buried directly in the ground, allowing the body to decompose naturally.

Sometimes, in natural burial, they use some biodegradable casket or shroud, as long as it doesn’t prevent the debris from decomposing.

Green Funeral

This is almost similar to natural burial with a fundamental difference. To keep the burial green, the cemetery where the remains would be placed must not use any kind of pesticides, and no other bodies in the cemetery would be buried using embalming fluids or coffins.

Spreading Ash for Incineration

One of the commonest options for those who want to be cremated is to ask for their ashes to be spread in an important location.

Of course, spreading ashes is an option, but make sure you follow local and state laws. All states are different, so don’t go with assumptions. In general, some states and local regulations allow this, and others do not. In addition, those who allow this generally have restrictions on where you can distribute the ash, so make sure to check before using this option.

Memorial Cremation Reef

The Memorial Reef is a special option through which the ashes of the body can be mixed with concrete, turned into a statue of an object (it can be any shape of your choice), and placed at the bottom of the ocean.

You will need to work with a company that provides these services. You don’t want your family to do it alone.

Do You Want a Viewing or Not?

Do you want your relatives to have one last chance to visit your body? Some like it, some don’t. The choice is definitely yours, but you have to decide what you want.

The viewing can happen at the funeral home, a church, a synagogue, or any other place of your choice (as long as the building owner agrees).

However, you have to know that if you prefer to donate your remains to science and you want people to view it, then you have to pay the cost.

Now Choose the Details to Complete Your Plans

At this stage, you must have chosen between burial, cremation, or donation. You have chosen what to do with the remains and decided whether you want people to view or not.

All you need to do now is complete details such as location, flowers, music, and other things you want

Check out the list below and decide which one is right for you. Then document what you want along with everything else.

  • Location of the memorial service
  • Where the remains will be place
  • Attendees
  • Type of casket
  • Flowers
  • Music
  • Open or closed casket for a service
  • Marker/headstone preferences
  • Clothes, glasses, and jewelry to be worn for a viewing or final resting
  • Obituary preferences (key points you want to be addressed in your obituary)
  • Any military preferences for veterans
  • Name(s) of those who you want to make your arrangements
  • Post funeral reception preferences
  • Pallbearer suggestions

Four Ways to Pay for Your Funeral

At this point, you have fully planned your funeral, which means your family will not have to make these difficult decisions while mourning your loss.

Now, all you need to do is create a plan to keep your family from paying for the funeral costs.

Here’s the deal

The greatest burden you can place on your loved ones is to put the cost of your unpaid funeral on them.

In fact, most families don’t have the money needed to pay for the funeral in full. As a result, a loved one will end up taking loans to ensure you have a respectable final funeral service.

It often takes years to pay off the loan they took.

Even if you do not do anything, please ensure to prepare yourself financially for your funeral, so that your family does not have to borrow money to do it for you.

Now that you know, you have four simple options to pay for your funeral expenses.

With that being said, you have four main options to cover your final costs.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a very popular option to pay for burial expenses, primarily because it offers immediate protection.

Also, there are life policies specifically designed to cover final costs. Usually, they are referred to as “funeral insurance for the elderly” or “final expense life insurance.”

These are small policies designed to provide sufficient insurance to pay for burial expenses.

These kinds of policies are very useful for people over 80 who are unlikely to qualify for a regular life insurance policy. The cost of a burial policy is usually affordable because the face amount is small.

Affordable Option

Only those who are financially disciplined should consider this option. Basically, you decide to set aside a certain amount each month until you have enough money to cover all your final expenses.

The obvious disadvantage of this option is that if you pass away without saving enough, your family will have to meet up with the remaining.

Pre-Need Agreement

This policy is a contract between you and a certain funeral home. You plan your funeral entirely with them, and they tell you the complete cost.

This policy is supported by one type of life insurance, but it is a different policy type than the one you get individually.

The main difference between a pre-need policy and a single purchased policy is that the payment for a pre-need policy stops in one day.

The funeral homes that offer the pre-need police will try to make you pay the total cost within three to five years. Due to this, the monthly payment for the pre-policy payment can be expensive.

They usually cost between $100 and $500 per month, depending on the total cost and the amount of time you give yourself to pay.

Inheritance Funds of the Deceased

While not recommended, you can be confident that your family will sell your home, investment, or other assets to cover your final expenses.

There is no doubt that this is an option.

For the most part, though, it should be off the table.

We are saying this because;

It takes a long time for your family to liquidate your property. First, the probate process can take months. Which is enough to condemn your family for a temporary attempt to raise money to pay for the funeral.

Even after they complete the probate process, they will still have to sell any valuables you have, which will take even longer.

Again, this is an option, but given the time it takes to do this, it should be the last option to be considered.

Having a Will or Living Trust

A living trust or will address legal issues related to your death, so it’s important not to miss this step.

Now, whether you go with a living will or a trust is a personal choice and will probably be determined by the complexity of your property. This article provides a great resource of the pros and cons of each.

We suggest consulting with a will or trust lawyer and let them help you decide the one that suits you most.

If you’re kind of independent, though, and want to create a will for yourself, that’s fine. Sincerely, many people successfully set up a will on their own.

A lot of resources are available online to help you draft a will. If you are good with following instructions, then the process will be simple and accurate

If you decide to draft a will without the help of a solicitor, use at least one guide to make sure you are doing it right.

On the other hand, a Trust is much more difficult and needs to be done with the help of a professional. From the application to structure, they are very different and are regulated by different laws; therefore, professional legal assistance is recommended.

You may be wondering … Why you would need a will or trust?

It is very simple

It would be best if you had a will or trust to strengthen legal issues related to death.

Like all other elements of your funeral, if you are not preparing for the legality, you are condemning your family to deal with them.

About Al Kushner
Al Kushner
He is a recognized financial educator, best-selling author, speaker, underwriting specialist and the founder & CEO of Superior Mutual, an independent insurance agency. He has helped families and individuals preserve, protect, and pass on a legacy since 1986. His mission is helping hard working seniors keep more of what they have worked a lifetime to save.

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