Regardless of how healthy or young you are now, the day will come when you will die. The latin phrase ‘memento mori’ reminds us that all of us are going to cease to exist at some point.
While it’s not the most pleasant thought to entertain, there are some very important reasons why planning for your death is a good idea. If you have assets and a family, there are some things you can do today to help make your death less of a burden on those you care about.
Sadly, many people don’t even think about planning for their funeral until it’s too late, and loved ones often end up scrambling to arrange funerary services that the deceased would have wanted. A little upfront planning can really help with this, and in that effort, here are seven tips for planning your own funeral.
Tip #1: Choose how your body will be treated after your death.
As morbid as this decision may seem, it’s crucial to your funeral plan. More and more, people are opting for cremation over burial services, and the reasons make good sense:
- Cremations are 25-50% less expensive than burials.
- Your ashes can be stored somewhere safe or distributed in a place of your choosing.
- Cremations do not require a burial plot, casket, or embalming.
Once this decision is made, the rest of the funeral planning process is quite straightforward.
Tip #2: Set aside funds for the funeral itself.
How you’d like your funeral to be played out is a very personal choice. Don’t want to have a funeral at all? That’s up to you—just remember that a funeral is as much for the deceased as it is for those who will grieve the loss of the person.
If you do decide that having a funeral is best, earmark between $7,500 and $10,000 for it. Set these funds aside in a holding account that is referenced in your will so that your family knows where to source the money they’ll need.
Tip #3: Make your funeral a reflection of who you were.
For many, planning their own funeral is a daunting task. While not many people enjoy thinking through this, it can help with the grieving process when the funeral includes things that you want to be a part of it.
For some, this could be readings of poetry. For others, it could be playing certain musical selections. Another idea is to record yourself giving a personal farewell to family and friends. However it’s done, making your funeral your own can serve as a heartfelt goodbye that attendees will remember.
Tip #4: Craft an obituary.
The people who have come to know you throughout the course of your life already have a good idea of who you are, what your character was composed of, and what achievements you have attained in life.
But, what about the rest of the world?
When your obituary is published in the local newspaper, trade journal, or other publication, it will be an opportunity for you to communicate how you’d like to be remembered to those who may have never heard of you. Take a few minutes and write out a handful of paragraphs that best represent you.
Tip #5: Look into funeral prepayment.
Mortuaries and funeral homes are more than willing to accept your money in exchange for a prepaid funeral service. Sometimes, they’ll be willing to offer discounts for this, too.
Remember, though, that you won’t be gaining any interest on this money after you’ve given it to the funeral home. And, there is always the chance the the establishment may go out of business before you die.
Consider all the factors involved in a funeral prepayment. If the net result is that you feel more peace of mind in doing so, then go ahead with it.
Tip #6: Go to a ‘death cafe’ event.
For some, meeting in person with others who are confronting death can be a very affirming and liberating experience.
“Death Cafe” events are meetups where discussions about death and dying are encouraged. To find one near you, visit www.DeathCafe.com.
Tip #7: Talk about your final plans with those who matter most.
This might be difficult to do, but the outcome will almost always be beneficial.
Sit down with your family, friends, and loved ones, and explain to them the decisions you’ve made about your funeral. Communicating your final wishes to them will go a long way in ensuring that your funeral goes as smoothly as possible.
Planning for one’s own death is rarely ever enjoyable, but doing so will have long-lasting benefits for all involved. Hopefully, the tips listed above will assist you.