Planning Ahead for a Funeral
Planning ahead for an end-of-life ceremony, such as a funeral or memorial service, is a wonderful way to reduce future stress on family and friends. Planning ahead also gives you a voice in the important immediate steps which will be taken after you pass. There are several ways to plan ahead for an end-of-life service:
- Pick a funeral home – Choosing a funeral home ahead of time can be enormously helpful to family and friends. Not only does this allow for more involvement in the planning of your own funeral, but it gives your loved ones a starting point and also gives great insight into funeral related expenses.
When shopping around for funeral homes, there are a couple of important things to remember:
- When looking at funeral homes, take the same approach you would when buying a car – don’t tell the funeral homes exactly what you’re looking for. Funeral homes may try to sell you more at a higher price. Remember you, the customer, are in charge of your spending – you will need to pay for the most basic services, but everything else is optional.
- Always be sure to ask for a General Price List, or “GPL” (a detailed list of prices and fees on funeral services and experiences) before beginning any negotiations, and especially before mentioning that you are considering purchasing a casket from a third party. This will prevent the funeral home from being able raise prices on other services. Information regarding pricing and savings may also be available through local chapters of the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA). To find the appropriate chapter, click here.
To start looking for a funeral home, click here.
- Secure a casket and/or urn – Securing a casket and/or urn before passing away is highly recommended by for several reasons.
- Securing a casket/urn while still living provides some control. Choosing a container early allows a person to make personal decisions regarding the perfect place to rest. Securing a container while still living also allows for a person to take advantage of options that may not be available at a later time. For example, if spouses want to be buried in matching caskets, securing those caskets early is the best way to ensure that those wishes can be honored.
- Securing a casket/urn while still living saves a lot of stress (and money) for family and friends after passing. Funerals tend to happen soon after death so the process of purchasing a casket/urn would have to be prioritized by family and friends to guarantee everything is purchased and ready all in a very short time.
- Secure a location to be buried and/or memorialized – Choosing and reserving your eternal resting place while still alive is a good idea for the same reasons it is wise to pre-select a casket or urn – it saves family and friends from future uncertainty and from having to make important decisions at a vulnerable time. Harbor Caskets has built a guide to help find your ideal final resting place. For more information, click here.
- Document your wishes regarding an end-life-service – Planning an end-of-life service, such as a funeral or memorial, requires a lot of effort and time from family and friends. It also can be challenging and stressful to try to plan for the wishes of a loved one without knowing exactly what they are. Documenting your wishes regarding an end-of-life service can tremendously simplify the planning process for family and friends. It also ensures that personal wishes regarding traditions, religion, culture, and other preferences are known so they can be honored. Harbor Caskets understands that end-of-life service planning can be overwhelming and in hopes of making the planning process simpler, Harbor Caskets has written two guides to help navigate through the process. To learn about how to plan a traditional funeral (and other end-of-life services), click here. To learn how to plan a DIY funeral (and other end-of-life services), click here.
- Document your wishes regarding burial or cremation – Organizing a final resting place, for a body or ashes, can be a complicated and emotional experience for family and friends. Finding the perfect final resting place is not typically taken lightly, so it also can be challenging, and even overwhelming, for family and friends to try to plan for the wishes of a loved one without knowing exactly what they are. Documenting your wishes, or even some of the steps already taken, such as the purchase of a burial plot or gravestone, regarding a burial, cremation, etc. can relieve a lot of the pressure on loved ones. It also ensures that your personal wishes will be honored. Harbor Caskets understands that planning for a gravesite burial can be complicated, and has several free guides available to help you navigate through the process. To learn about how to find the perfect final resting place, click here. To learn about how to find the perfect gravestone, click here. Harbor Caskets has also created a guide on different burial types. For more information, click here.