Regretfully, there is much more going on than what you see when attending someone’s funeral, and the worse part is most of the tasks are being considered at a very emotional time – while surviving loved ones are mourning the loss of a family member or friend.
A better way to approach the situation than waiting for the absolute worst time to have your funeral arrangements fussed over is to create a pre-plan for all aspects of the funeral instead of leaving them for your surviving loved ones. When you decide to take on the task of funding and planning your funeral and memorial service, you are showing your love for those who will miss you the most.
Rather than leave these tasks to grieving loved ones or some profit-minded funeral director, you can make these important arrangements in advance by following this step-by-step guide to planning your final and memorial service. This plan assumes that you have already purchased the necessary insurance so the death benefit will cover the cost of your arrangements.
Checklist for Planning a Funeral
1. Research the funeral homes in your area and choose one that you feel will best meet the needs of your loved ones after your death.
2. If you have not already purchased a cemetery plot, start researching now and make the arrangements to purchase the plot as soon as possible. Web sites like Craigslist always have some great deals available. You may also want to use a funeral planning program such as FuneralWise.
3. Memorialize your funeral preferences in writing. Be sure to include the following:
A. Style of casket and price guidelines
B. Headstone preference – be specific as to style and cost
C. Send flowers or request contributions to you favorite charity
D. Music preferences during memorial service. Be specific.
E. Presiding official – authorized official, clergy member, or another person.
4. Food and refreshments. Although family members typically share in preparing food, it’s important to estimate any costs that may be involved so that surviving loved ones do not have to come out-of-pocket to cover the additional expenses.
5. Memorial Service – Planning the memorial service can be just as intense and stressful as the actual burial, especially when seval family members are involved. Choose a hall that is convenient to visitors and family members, but also fairly close to the cemetery you selected. There will be likely additional expenses involved with a memorial service that should be anticipated.
6. Motorcade – The motorcade from the funeral home to the cemetery is typically provided by the funeral home with the cost built into their fee, but it’s always best to have this service in writing.
7.List of preferable pallbearers if desired. Although this task is usually left to friends of the family and cousins, you may specify whom you wish to participate.
8. Open or closed casket. In most cases how you die will determine if your casket is open or closed, but this remains a choice if you prefer to do so in advance. If you prefer an open casket, you may want to be dressed in a preferable outfit with the appropriate accessories.
9. If you prefer an open casket, you may want to be dressed in a preferable outfit with the appropriate accessories.
10. Provide an outline of your obituary and where you’d like it published. This may also result in additional expenses and is typically handled by the funeral home.
If any tasks were not specified above, it is because they may or may not apply on a general basis. Your religious affiliation is likely to call for additional tasks that have not been considered here. Also, if you are a veteran, there will likely be other items to consider.
When you purchase a burial insurance policy in advance and provide the funds for your surviving loved ones, it significantly reduces their stress during their time of grieving and planning a funeral. Your pre-planning efforts can go a long way in reducing the probable disagreements among family members. Many insurers that offer final expense and burial policies will provide a booklet free of charge that outlines many of the funeral and memorial tasks listed above. If that is the case, take advantage of the preplanning information they provide you by investing the time needed to make all of your arrangements.
Finally, it’s important that you discuss your plans (doesn’t need to be in detail) with a family member or close friend that you trust with your final wishes. By preplanning your funeral tasks and the arranging to pay for it with a burial insurance policy, you are genuinely showing your love for your surviving loved ones during their time of grief.
Doug Mitchell, President of Ogletree Financial, holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent over 20 years in the life insurance industry and has also held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, and home and auto insurance. For two years, Doug served as President of the Auburn Opelika Association of Financial Advisors and has been a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He obtained Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award. Later in his career with New York Life, he was an Executive Council Member. Doug currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance marketing organization with over 1000 life insurance agents. Today, Doug’s main focus is servicing 1000s of policyholders and growing his agency through the reach of several insurance-related websites.