Funeral Planning

Overview

Published: 08/16/2010

by Funeral Home Resource Team

Photos

Funeral Planning

Losing a loved one in death is never easy and especially strenuous emotionally. Funeral preparation for the departed or for you is not only challenging but financially demanding if not given the proper direction. Finding a reputable and licensed funeral home will make all the difference in the world and give you the peace of mind you need.

What makes a funeral home distinctive? An exceptional funeral home will welcome all your needs with an open heart and open arms. You want to walk into a funeral home and get the sense that you and your family are the only people who matter and treated just like family. Your funeral director should not only give you the guidance and support you need, but also make everything simple to understand while being direct and sincere. If you are pre-planning a funeral for yourself, you still deserve that acknowledgement of care, as you want to make these difficult decisions as easy as possible for your family financially and psychologically. Never forget that the primary attitude for funeral preparation is a process to honor, celebrate and respect a person you love.

Once you have found a funeral home you are comfortable working with, it will be time to start asking tough questions and begin the process of funeral preparation. The hardest question, no matter how ready you might be for it, is what you and your family want to have done with the body of the deceased. Options include burial, cremation or in some cases donation to medical science. When a decision has been made, further discussion will begin about what kind of funeral services you would be partial to.

In cases of burial, this would need a casket decision. There are many selections to choose from including but not limited to steel, copper, wood and cremation caskets. Casket expenses can range from $500 to $15,000 dependent on your preference. Many of the most expensive high-end caskets include bronze and 14-karat gold accents. Many families choose between stainless steel and wood caskets due to their durability and craftsmanship. If you and your family decide cremation is the best method, you will then be presented with urn selections in place of a casket. Depending on the quality and manufacturer of the urn, prices can range $100 to $3000.

Once you have made a decision on a vessel, be that a casket or urn, a discussion will begin about visitations, services and cemetery arrangements. These series of discussions will communicate what kind of parlor arrangements you will need, what kind of funeral music or hymns you would like and how you would like a mass orchestrated. Depending on your religious affiliation, some families would rather have their pastor or clergy conduct a service at the funeral home instead of a church. Catholics mainly prefer to rely on their Catholic Church to hold a proper mass before interment at the cemetery. During these arrangements, you will then discuss visitation times and decide whether the visitation remains public or private. You will then have time to compose an obituary in which your funeral director will help you with and order any merchandise you wish such as prayer cards or registry books.

Once all the funeral service essentials have been discussed, funeral and burial expenses will be examined. Funeral and burial costs are determined by what kind of service you selected, what kind of casket or urn you decide on and any out-of-pocket expenses like cemetery fees, gravestones and flower arrangements. Funeral homes have a comprehensive list of average costs that a person will undergo for a complete funeral service. It is vital that you acquire any forms of documentation that go into detail about costs so you can check and perhaps make some alterations. The average funeral costs can be close to $7,000 or more depending on your needs. This average includes body preparation, visitation equipment and merchandise (prayer cards, registry book, etc.), transportation (hearse and escort), and cemetery service fees. Cremation services are traditionally not as expensive but can be comparable to internment costs depending on the family's wishes. Some families choose to do direct cremation complete with an urn that averages $2000 to $3000 dependant on no visitation service and cemetery fee. If a memorial service is desired, this average can be closer to $5000.

Talking about expenses, body preparation and all the business nuts and bolts involved with funeral planning can seem very disheartening as you can't put a price on a loved one. However, being ready and confronting the nature of funeral planning will make this transition in life easier to cope with. When it's all said and done, you will have given your loved one a service that is memorable, honorable and simply beautiful.