A Quick Guide to Planning Your Own Funeral
Published May 1st, 2020
There’s a saying that goes, “nobody makes it out of life alive”. Indeed, the only constant thing about life is death. It’s inevitable and everyone will reach that point someday. While we don’t necessarily want it to happen sooner, it’s still better to be prepared.
Planning for your own funeral can be morbid and taboo. But it benefits both you and the people you’ll leave behind. When everything is under wraps, it will lessen their burden – both emotionally and financially. Plus you get to have a funeral according to your own wishes.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s a quick guide to planning your own funeral.
Funerals aren’t cheap. So before you start planning the kind of ceremony you want, estimate how much it would cost first.
Among the factors to consider is the type of interment and funeral service you want to have. You also need to take into account how many days the funeral would last and how you want to be buried.
If you prefer traditional burial methods, a burial plot in a private cemetery in the US can cost between $2,000 and $5,000. This usually depends on the cemetery’s location and amenities. If you include other costs like embalming, casket, and funeral services, it can add up to about $10,000.
This is why most Americans prefer cremation. It’s generally cheaper than traditional burials and won’t take up much space.
2. Decide on an Internment Service
With an increasingly liberal view on death and funerals, people are getting more creative with interment services. Decades ago, you can only choose between being buried underground or inurned. Today, you can even arrange for your ashes to be scattered in outer space.
Burial choices have, indeed, become so wide and varied. Interment services tend to focus more on individual choices rather than tradition. If you’re a fan of the ocean, you can arrange for whole-body sea burial or scatter your ashes at sea. For those into music, some companies will turn your ashes into vinyl records.
A quick search on the internet will yield all the interment options you can choose from. Just remember that some religions forbid cremations. Make sure you also take that into consideration before deciding on an interment service.
If you’re keen on making a difference and leaving a worthwhile legacy, you can also donate your body to science. Body donation helps medical researchers make medical breakthroughs. Donating your body to science through institutions like DonorCure will also let you save on funeral expenses. DonorCure will take care of all donation-related expenses such as body transportation and cremation.
3. Choose a Funeral Ceremony
There are basically three types of funeral ceremonies you can choose from:
- Funeral Service. It is a type of funeral ceremony that’s usually steeped in tradition. It is based on the religious and cultural beliefs of the deceased.
- Memorial Service. This usually takes place after the body is buried. It celebrates the lie and legacy of the person who has died.
- Committal (Graveside) Service. As the name suggests, it’s a brief ceremony performed at the deceased’s graveside. Some choose to have both a memorial or funeral service and a graveside service. While others prefer to have only the latter.
In addition to the above, some people also tend to hold viewings and visitation. Others also prefer to have a funeral reception. These allow friends and family to see the deceased for the last time and express their condolences to the bereaved.
4. Define the Details of the Funeral Ceremony
After you’ve decided on a funeral ceremony, the next thing to do is iron out the details.
What songs do you want to be played? What prayers do you want to be said? Who do you want to speak at your eulogy? The answers to these questions will help you outline the funeral ceremony you wish.
If you really want to express yourself, themed funerals are also becoming increasingly popular. These are highly personalized ceremonies that reflect the character of the deceased. It aims to celebrate a life lived rather than mourn for a life lost.
5. Let Your Family Know Your Wishes
Now that you’ve defined the details of your funeral, it’s time to inform your family of your wishes. After all, they will be the ones to carry it out upon your death. If they don’t know of your funeral plans, they might make their own arrangements which defeat the purpose of planning your own funeral.
6. Make Payment Arrangements
As we’ve mentioned earlier, funerals can be expensive. So if you want to have the funeral you desire without putting your family in debt, you need to prepare for it financially.
If your insurance has funeral benefits, estimate if it will be enough for the type of funeral you’re planning. You can also consider pre-need contracts for funeral services, leaving a trust fund, or pre-purchase a cemetery space.
7. Organize and Prepare Your Personal Documents
One of the most common dilemmas families have when making arrangements for a loved one’s funeral is where to find the deceased’s personal documents. They need it to file for your death certificate or complete insurance requirements.
Put all your personal documents in one folder and leave instructions on where you’re keeping it. If possible, include photos and other items that your family can remember you by. Losing a loved one can be difficult and having something of that person to remember them by is a great help.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the power of knowledge when it comes to whole body donation and she wants to share her experience with the world. She also loves to write about food and art.