If I could offer one piece of advice to couples who have yet to feel the bitter sting of loss, this article’s headline would be it. Plan your funeral arrangements now! I sure wish we had planned Cindy’s before she passed. It would have made life so much easier.
When a loved one passes away, there is shock and overwhelming sadness. It is not a good time to make important decisions, but that is exactly what many of us have to do. We have to sit across the table from a funeral director and make irrevocable decisions at a time when we just want to curl up into a ball and cry. Talk about hard, that’s the textbook definition of hard. Why not save your loved ones that trauma and make your wishes known now. Here are some good reasons why you should preplan your funeral.
THERE IS NO GUESSWORK.
When Cindy died, we had to decide whether she would be buried or cremated. Over the years, she had expressed wishes and concerns about both. In the end, her final wishes were not known for sure. We had to try to guess what she really would have wanted and match it up with our financial resources. In the end, we decided that Cindy would be cremated and placed in an emerald green urn. When I die, that urn will be placed in the casket with me.
Let me tell you something, it is hell on earth to sign a document authorizing someone to place the love of your life in an incinerator, especially when you are not 100% certain that is what he or she would have wanted. I live with that guilt every day, but I’m not certain that the guilt would have been any less had I asked them to bury her in a hole in the ground.
When you preplan your service, you get to pick out every aspect of the service. After Cindy passed, I decided to plan my own service so I visited with a local funeral director. We planned everything down to the smallest details such as whether I would have my rings and glasses on. I picked out my own casket and memorial cards. When the time comes, there will be very little for Kevin (our son) to decide on.
YOUR COST IS LOCKED IN.
When you preplan your funeral arrangements and prepay the costs, you are issued an insurance policy that covers the cost of the service. It doesn’t matter if you pass away the next day or thirty years later. It also doesn’t matter if you move as the policy will likely be transferable to a funeral director in the area you move to. You do want to be careful about that when talking to a funeral director.
In my case, the only costs that can go up are the fees for the certified death certificates and the sales tax on the casket because those costs are government regulated and who knows where they will be down the road.
YOUR LOVED ONES GET PEACE OF MIND.
As I stated at the start of this piece, it is extremely difficult to sit across the table from a funeral director and make important decisions when your heart is breaking. Now, because I’ve preplanned my service, Kevin can just tell the mortuary to execute my wishes and he’s done. How great is that?
YOU GET THINGS YOUR WAY.
What songs do you want played at your service? What do you want your obituary to say and in what papers should it appear? Do you want a lot of flowers? If you don’t plan in advance, your loved ones get stuck making these decisions just as we did with Cindy. Now, when my time comes, Kevin won’t have to wonder. All of this and more has already been decided.
I really do recommend preplanning your arrangements even if you don’t have the money to pay for them now. Many mortuaries offer financial options to make payment plans. Even if the mortuary doesn’t require prepayment, you will still want to do so if at all possible. It locks in your costs and saves your loved ones the financial burden. Most funeral homes charge extra if they have to wait for life insurance proceeds which can take months, and most people don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank to cover funeral costs on the spur of the moment. By prepaying, there is nothing to worry about.
It is my sincere hope that you will take this friendly advice to heart. I would wish anyone to have the experience that I had last August.