Everyone will die at some point. Surprisingly, most people die without letting their final wishes be known to their loved ones. Your last wishes go beyond what happens to your estates and property. It includes what happens to your body after you are dead and the funeral arrangements.
Most people are planning their funerals, and sometimes paying for the expenses in advance. Pre-planning your last event on earth is not easy, but it helps your loved ones to focus on honoring your legacy and celebrating your life. Also, deciding on a burial or cremation ceremony and choosing a funeral home can help your loved ones understand your last wishes and take care of the financial burdens.
Here’s how you can help your family before you pass on.
1. Make your wishes known
The best way to let your loved ones know your final wishes is by writing down a list of instructions in a document separate from your trust or will. This separate document is where you include fine details about what should be done and what should not be done at your funeral once you have passed. Some of the data you should add is:
- Whether you want a memorial service or funeral.
- The people who should be notified of your death.
- Whether your body should be buried or cremated.
- Where you would want your ashes to be disposed or buried.
- If you have set aside money to cater for your funeral and how the cash will be accessed.
2. Have a will
When you die without a will, a probate court judge will be the one to distribute your assets to your heirs. Having a will prevents feuds among your family members. A will is a document that dictates how your property should be distributed when you die. A will also include a person who should be in charge to ensure your will is followed to the latter. In most cases, the will is usually a written document. However, if you are not in a position to write your will, consider talking to your family and friends and let them know what you want to happen when you pass on. This goes a long way to ease tension and fights when people are mourning.
3. Decide what to do with the body
There is a variety of options for services, including direct burials and funerals. Some of the burial options include a natural burial, private or community mausoleum, above-ground burial, and in-ground burial.
A typical funeral involves viewing the body, followed by a service. A hearse transports the body to the cemetery to be buried. Some of the costs involved in a typical funeral include embalming, dressing, renting the site for the service, and hiring the hearse. You can also choose the type of casket for your burial. It can either be metallic, plastic, fiberglass, or fiberboard.
In this type of funeral, a person is cremated, and then the remains stored. The burial ceremony is conducted later. The ashes are then stored in urns, and passed on to the close family members. The ashes can either be preserved or poured at sea, for example, based on a person’s wish. Because there is no embalming and body viewing, costs are less in this type of burial. The main costs are for cremation and the special container for storing the ash. The containers usually come in various materials, sizes, and styles.
This is where the cremated ashes are put in a biodegradable urn or container destined for a natural wood or wildlife conservation. Natural burial has minimal costs as compared to other types of funerals.
4. Pre-pay your memorial arrangements
When getting a prepaid plan for your memorial service, do a background check on the funeral home. Investigate their cancellation policies to gauge if you can hire them. Put all your findings in writing. Also, you need to understand your state’s laws concerning pre-paid funeral plans.
As much as paying for your funeral is reassuring, it comes with some risks. A family may be left stranded if the funeral home of your choice closes down, or for some reason, the funeral service cannot be held at your chosen venue. For these reasons, the alternative to paying for your funeral service is to get a life insurance policy, or set aside a cash reserve for your funeral. This way, your family is protected, and your plans are followed.
Most families have traditional ways of conducting a funeral, such as one funeral home and a burial place. However, this should not stop you from shopping around or declaring how you want your memorial service to be conducted. A time of grieving is hard for most people, and the best thing you can do is relieve them of the pain for planning for your memorial when they are grieving.