How to Pre-Plan a Funeral

How to plan a funeral is something people seldom think about until it is too late. Figuring out how to make final arrangements for a loved one right after they pass away can be an emotionally excruciating experience.

Pre-paid funeral plans are one way to solve this problem as you can make all the arrangements beforehand for your own services and make sure that they are paid for in full in advance so nothing is left for your family and friends to do but help execute on the plan.

Funeral pre-planning is something you can accomplish yourself with some research and time. You may even work in conjunction with a funeral home. Many funeral directors can help guide you through what you need and what you want while accommodating your budgetary concerns so that your last decisions do not leave anyone in debt.

Finding a Funeral Director

When planning a funeral service and looking to make sure that you have all your arrangements made well ahead of time, it is wise to engage the services of a funeral director. A competent and trustworthy funeral director can help you with funeral pre-planning so that you are taken care of long before it is necessary. In order to make sure you are satisfied, find a funeral director with whom you feel comfortable working. You can do this by looking through reviews and conducting your own interviews with local funeral directors, or speak with friends or family who may have already made their arrangements and find out which funeral directors they used and with whom they were happy.

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Funeral service planning with a funeral director typically involves a memorial service followed by the actual burial rites. If you decide on a cremation rather than a burial, your funeral director will recommend and connect you with a crematory to make the arrangements for the cremation. If your prepaid funeral plans have you wanting to scatter your ashes, either at sea or on land, you may be able to work with a crematorium directly and forego having to hire a funeral director.

Cemetery Arrangements

Funeral pre-planning will typically include making arrangements for your final resting place in a cemetery. You can usually work with the funeral director of a funeral home to find a suitable cemetery. Some things you should take under consideration when contemplating cemetery arrangements are:

  • Finding a cemetery – Pre-planning your funeral with regards to cemetery plots will normally take a few factors into consideration. Some of the variables that will affect where you ultimately choose to make your arrangements include things such as:
    • Environmental concerns.
    • The religious affiliation.
    • The location.
  • The number of plots – If you decide to purchase multiple plots or spaces in a mausoleum, you may wish to purchase them so that they are placed next to one another for members to be laid to rest in a group.
  • Visit the cemetery – Your prepaid funeral plans should most definitely include a visit to the cemetery if possible to have a thorough look around the grounds. Some things to keep in mind are how well maintained the grounds are in addition to inspecting the specific plots you intend on purchasing. You can use the visit to ask any questions you may have prior to signing a contract for the purchase. If you are unable to visit the cemetery in person, you may wish to have someone visit on your behalf to make the inspection and ask your questions.

Planning Your Own Funeral Services

When deciding how to plan a funeral, choosing the type of service you wish to have is an essential part of the process. The actual funeral rites—and in what sort of setting you wish them to take place—a graveside service, and memorial services tend to be the most common varieties of funeral services. Some people, when planning a funeral service, even wish to have the ritual held in their own home. There are other forms and services that can be considered for a funeral including things like having wakes, viewings, or visitations. These can take place before the funeral services with some sort of gathering afterwards. Some of the other considerations when planning funeral services include things such as:

  • Deciding upon a location for the services
  • Selecting the individuals you wish to serve as your pallbearers
  • Choosing the reading of passages from religious or other texts as well as any music or songs you wish included in your service

How to Personalize a Funeral Plan

When planning a funeral service there are many other items to consider which can further personalize your services. Some of these other considerations include the following:

  • Choosing an officiant – If your funeral service is taking place in a house of worship in accordance with your spiritual beliefs it is more than likely that an official from that house of worship will lead your service. However, for services taking place outside of a house of worship you may select the person or persons you wish to preside over your funeral freely.
  • Selecting participants – Your friends and family may participate in your funeral in a variety of ways. In addition to being pallbearers, you may tap individuals who you wish to deliver a eulogy or read passages from selected texts. They may also play music and/or sing songs you wish to have performed. Some funeral services allow people to speak freely about the deceased as well.
  • Guest list – A funeral planning checklist may include a guest list as well to include people they want in attendance.
  • Other design elements – You may wish to have other stylized decisions such as types and amounts of floral arrangements or any other personal touches you wish to make your funeral service as personal as possible.

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