Death, a necessary end–will come when it will come.
It’s a line from a play by William Shakespeare, and speaks to an event that most of us fear or dread. It reminds us that no matter the life we lived, there will eventually be an end. If we choose to celebrate our life through a funeral service, friends and family will attend and remember the gifts you brought to this life.
If you are in the midst of funeral planning for yourself or a family member, it all may feel quite overwhelming. Read on for our most recommended items off of the funeral planning checklist to ensure the smoothest time for everyone involved.
1. Have a Budget in Mind
Funerals cost individuals and their loved ones thousands of dollars. A casket alone can cost anywhere from $2,000-$10,000, depending on the selection. If you are able to budget and set aside funds for the inevitable, you can relieve some of the financial pressure off of those executing your funeral service.
If you are planning the service of a loved one, don’t feel as if you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money to show your love. Create a budget, and stick to it.
2. Research Funeral Homes and Directors
If you are planning to hold a service in a funeral home (or utilize any of their services), do your research beforehand. Make sure you verify:
- The experience of the funeral home and director
- The size of the space
- The pricing for all services
- The location (is it close to your preferred cemetery or home?)
Establishing a trusting relationship with a funeral director may also help the entire experience. Don’t feel as if you need to be pressured into certain sales tactics or features that you cannot afford.
Remember– next to you, a funeral home director will be taking care of all of the important details of that day. You want to go with somebody you trust.
3. Don’t Pay for Unnecessary Items or Services
As we mentioned, funerals can be unnecessarily expensive. Don’t let funeral services upsell you on the following items:
- Add-ons – Casket add-ons like gaskets are unnecessary and may actually be detrimental to the decomposition of the body
- Purchases – consider renting a casket for the viewing
It’s possible that you have never planned for a funeral before. Some organizations will keep this in mind, and attempt to sell you items you may not need.
4. Rules and Regulations
If you are helping a loved one plan or are in the midst of planning yourself, you’ll need to remember that there are usually strict practices used when dealing with a body. These include:
- Death to urn chain-of-custody requirements
- Paperwork and identify verification when retrieving or delivering a body
- Wrist or ankle tag verification
- A unique ID number (usually used in the cremation process)
There are also many considerations to keep in mind when shipping cremains, traveling with cremains, and the legal disbursement of cremains. Make sure you check local government regulations prior to picking up your loved one’s cremains.
5. Pre-Plan as Much as Possible
The death of a loved one can take an unimaginable toll on a family member. Consider taking the time to:
- Discuss plans with family and friends
- Pre-write your obituary
- Pre-pay for your funeral or keep a separate savings account for expenses
- Decide if you want to be cremated or buried
- Record all of your last wishes into a notarized document
If you are able to pre-plan as much of your or your spouse’s funeral as possible, your loved ones can take the time to focus on healing and remembering the good times you shared. If you aren’t ready to complete the entire checklist just yet, preplanning for the cost of a funeral is the most recommended first step.
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We understand the stress of funeral planning. If you need something to take your mind off of the stress and emotional load of planning a funeral service, check out the rest of our blog.