A Woman's Guide to Funeral Pre-Planning

Overview

Published: 05/20/2010

by Funeral Home Resource Team

Photos

Just about any woman can tell you, they do most of the family's planning. Whether planning for vacations, education or health care, it seems that women are the planners of the world (myself included)!

One thing that many women do not plan in advance...funerals.

Why is that? Is it because we don't like to think about death? Maybe. Is it because we think by NOT planning for it, we keep it at bay? Maybe subconsciously... but I think that its not because we are scared of it, or don't want to talk about it, but more so that we don't want to think about life without our spouse, or our children, or we worry about our children or spouse mourning us. That if we pass, what will life be like for them? As the mother of two young children, I think maybe that's it. That we worry about THEM. We are not scared of death, nor are we trying to delay it. We just don't want them to suffer.

But how much suffering will they go through, if we DO pass away and they have to make ALL of the funeral decisions and arrangements without knowing what WE wanted? This is why it is so important, especially for women, to pre-plan our funeral. It doesn't matter if you are in your 80's or in your 30's. The best gift you can give your family is some sort of funeral pre-planning. It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want, but you need to do it. For them.

By sitting down with a funeral director, women can accomplish three main objectives.

1) Map out a funeral in advance down to the last detail
2) Free the family from making funeral arrangements in a time of grief
3) Provide the option of beating inflation by paying for the funeral in advance

"A funeral is one of the most expensive events in one's life," according to the AARP. "It's not unusual for a family to spend $10,000 for a funeral today." If the thought of your husband or children having to fork over that kind of money to bury you gives you a migraine just thinking about it, its even more important for you to pre-plan as YOU control how much is spent and on what.

The big advantage to preplanning is that you can design the funeral exactly as you wants it. Cremation? Traditional funeral? Calling hours? Gravesite service or not? Public or private rites? These are all details that can be specified in advance and kept on file with the funeral home.

Of those consumers who DO preplan, 50 to 85 percent prepay, even though it is not required. It is simply another way for you to maintain control over the situation and help reduce the stress of the situation.

Another reason people prepay is to beat inflation. It's better to lock in the costs of tomorrow's services at today's prices. Since funeral costs (along with everything else in this world), rise every year, pre-funding your funeral helps you get a better price.

Although buying a whole funeral package through the funeral home is far more convenient and often less expensive, the Federal Trade Commission has ruled that no one is obliged to buy caskets, burial containers or any other products in-house.

Topics for women to cover during funeral pre-planning:

* Research Funeral Homes with the Better Business Bureau.

* If prepaying for the funeral, examine the insurance policy or the trust documents carefully, even have a lawyer review them.

* Make family members aware of funeral plans, and keep all documents and receipts in an accessible place.

* Many people preplan their funerals without prepaying; They just want to have their preferences on file with the funeral home so family members — and their funeral director — will know what they want.

* Who should be notified? Include the names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, attorneys, employers, relatives, friends, business associates, the executor or trustee of your estate, religious and social organizations and anyone else who should be notified of your death.

* Do you want to be an organ or a tissue donor?

* Do you want to donate your body?

* Do you have a funeral director or funeral home you prefer?

* Do you want a viewing?

* Do you want to be buried or cremated?

* Do you want a funeral or memorial service?

* Do you want a private service?

* Do you want a religious service? What denomination?

* Do you want a military service?

* Do you want certain music, or readings, at your service?

* Do you want someone you name to give your eulogy? Whom?

* Do you want pall bearers? Whom?

* Where do you want your remains to be placed?

* Do you have a headstone or marker in mind?

* What would you like in your obituary?

* Memorials: If donations are made in your name, to what charity, organization, etc., do you wish them to go?

When it comes to women, funerals can give us the opportunity to give one, final gift to our loved ones. Not only will our minds be at ease knowing its all taken care of, but knowing that we are helping them, may be the best gift of all.