Question: Have you ever planned a wedding, big birthday, anniversary, baby shower, or any other large event or celebration shared with friends and family? How much time, energy and effort did you give to the details to make it truly special and memorable? Important life moments like these create beautiful shared experiences and cherished memories. Well, would you believe us if we told you that In the same way you spent months selecting the perfect theme, color palette, music, readings, and other details of your nuptials, it’s also a fabulous, cool, and very grown-up idea to consider the details of your ultimate life celebration: your funeral services.
While many people agree that pre-planning funeral services seems a bit intimidating, the truth is that this event is the last hurrah that highlights your life--it’s where friends, family and loved ones get to celebrate the gifts you brought to this world, your unique perspectives, your passion, your accomplishments.
The best thing is, when you pre-arrange your plans, you can take your time in selecting the specific details for your future funeral services, with the happy thought that your family will have the gift of clear instructions regarding your final wishes, and that they’ll be able to honor you in a way that truly captures your values, your preferences, and yeah, even your own inimitable style. Also, that your “creative” cousin won’t be in charge of the flowers!
Funeral planning can be an important step for each of us --it’s a very intentional act of kindness and might even bring some clarity and comfort to your life right now. . Maybe you want to prepare for the future and live in a space of self-awareness, but pre-planning is mighty helpful for your family, too! Or maybe you’re starting the funeral pre-planning process to support a friend or loved one, which is an absolutely lovely thing to do. Regardless of the circumstances, you are on the right path by being proactive with your planning.
Why Pre-plan a Funeral?
You don’t have a date or timeline for your future funeral… so why start the planning process right now? Well, if you’re like some people, you may want to make it easier on their family when the time comes. If you’re like us, it’s because you want to control every damn detail (um, “rosé fountains is plural!”).
We consider personalizing all the events of a lifetime important and a funeral or memorial event is a notable moment to say goodbye and hold onto sweet memories of a loved one. Getting started with pre-planned funeral services immediately gives you the benefit of taking the time to design an event that leaves a lasting impression. A celebration that will leave your loved ones saying, “That was just so her.”
Too often, family members must handle “at-need” funeral arrangements at the time of a loved one’s death. This means that your people will only have a short timeframe to address the most important questions related to your end-of-life services. A lot of planning is crammed into a few days, often resulting in an expensive event and undue stress on the family. Most of the planning stress can be alleviated with a funeral plan, so that the family can spend more time on what’s much more essential--saying good things about how thoughtful you were. (We’re not making light of loss here--if you’ve ever been through short-term funeral planning, we know you’ll agree.)
As opposed to that frantic at-need type planning, pre-planning (also known as preneed) is the process of making funeral plans for the living. You can coordinate these plans at any time, at your convenience.
Funeral pre-planning is available for people of all ages, and the trends show that younger generations are embracing the opportunity to personalize their own funeral services. Millennials are becoming more “death positive” compared to older generations, and whether they are religious or not, they might prefer to create personalized events that celebrate life. One UK study of millennials found that 19% of young people who had experienced a loss keep some type of funeral instruction in the cloud, and that, should the time come, they want more of a “Best. Last. Party. Ever” than a somber and solemn service.
Whatever your own personal thoughts around tradition, religion, culture or other details (refreshments, anyone?), a pre-planned life celebration ensures that you send the right message when you are gone: the circle of life is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.
Benefits of Pre-planning a Funeral
Here are a few reasons why you should bump pre-planning funeral services up on your to-do list:
- Last Wishes: Too often, families face the challenge of last-minute funeral planning without knowing the preferences of their loved ones. Sometimes, disagreements arise because family members have differing opinions about these services. Pre-planning funeral services gives you the chance to share your last wishes clearly, so there’s no question about how you want them to remember you.
- Personalization: At Farewelling we love the idea of personalization and making funerals more a celebration of life and the joy and love a person brought to this world. In fact, we want to change the word “funeral” to farewelling. Doesn’t it sound better? We encourage families to create funeral services that are as unique as the individual. Pre-planning your own funeral means that you can pick and choose what you want.
- Decisions: When planning a funeral, families face a long list of decisions regarding the burial versus cremation, event planning, a final resting place, and more. These decisions can be overwhelming with last-minute funeral planning. Pre-planning reduces the last-minute stress and gives you time to evaluate your options without feeling pressured.
- Costs: How much would you like to spend on funeral services? Pre-planning your funeral gives you the control to determine the right budget for the event and how you want to spend the money. Also, as with everything, costs go up over time. So if you plan on prepaying for your funeral arrangements, sooner may be better than later.
- Comfort and Control: Looking with clarityWhen it’s time to schedule the funeral, your family will also have peace in honoring your wishes.
How to Pre-plan a Funeral
Seeing the benefits of funeral pre-planning is just the first step – now it’s time to get started! Take a look at this step-by-step funeral pre-planning checklist to stay organized. Using a pre-planning funeral guide can be a really helpful tool for those who can see the importance of living with intention by planning for end-of-life. But just one quick note of advice before you get started with pre-planning to wrap things up nicely: skim the checklist and start with whatever seems easiest to you. Crossing a few things off the list can motivate you to take next steps. Learning about the funeral and cremation industry is an important step before finalizing your choices. At Farewelling, we offer a variety of resources to help you evaluate services and compare your options. It can also be helpful to choose a funeral provider if you have questions to ask when pre-planning a funeral. This personal consultation gives you personalized recommendations, catered to your individual requests. If you’d prefer to speak with a helpful Farewelling Concierge, email us at email@example.com and we’ll get right back to you!
The simplest solution for funeral pre-planning is to break your decisions into categories:
- Essential Choices: Download the funeral pre-planning checklist to review essential details about the most important aspects of your life such as the power of attorney, organ donation, guardianship for dependents, creating a will, and more.
- Practicalities: Organizing your personal information is an important step in handling your estate. This practical information needs to include details like bank account numbers, life documents, identification, property deeds, passwords, and contact information for your attorney, accountant, landlord, family, and friends.
- Disposition and Resting Place: Consider your options for cremation, burial, or other alternatives. Then, pick out the details for your selected resting place, such as a burial plot and casket or an urn and special instructions for your ashes.
- Service and Celebration: Do you want to have time for family and friends to gather in honor of your life? Design a service that reflects your priorities, wishes, and personal flair. This event planning can include everything from the selection of a venue to speakers, music, flowers, food, photos, and clothing.
- Payment: You have the option to prepay for funeral services through the funeral home of your choice. Or, you can keep it simple by providing your family with a completed Farewelling Worksheet that includes your preferences and desires.
The most important thing to know is there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to plan a funeral. Instead, create a unique, personalized plan that honors your personality and wishes.