As a funeral director, part of my job is guiding individuals who wish to pre-plan their end of life services, as well as supporting grieving families making arrangements for a loved one.
No matter what end of the planning cycle you are on, being prepared and asking the right questions can help ease stress and ensure your wishes, or those of your loved one, are achieved.
Remember, pre-planning your funeral can save time and stress for your grieving family members, and give you the opportunity to personalize your celebration of life. Everyone is different, so take on funeral planning when you are comfortable and give yourself as much time as you need.
What Kind of Service Do You Want?
Typically, services are held at a funeral home or place of worship to honour the deceased and celebrate his or her life. I am arranging more unique services that truly represent the deceased, such as infusing personal interests, cultural customs, and family desires. Sometimes families wish to have us coordinate the details at a different venue such as a community hall or banquet facility.
When thinking about your service, consider the personal touches - such as special traditions, music or prayers - that you would like to incorporate. Also, think about your venue. Do you want to have a traditional service at a place of worship, or would you prefer a celebration of life at your favourite pub?
The more details you have, the easier it will be for others to carry out your wishes.
How Do You Want to be Laid to Rest?
There are several options available, but how do you decide what works best for you? I recommend speaking with a funeral or cemetery professional to discuss the different options so that you can make an informed decision. Some people choose to do research online, but with so many choices it can become confusing and overwhelming.
Have You Appointed Anyone to Help Carry Out Your Final Wishes?
Though it may be a difficult conversation to have, sharing your final wishes with your loved ones is a crucial step to help alleviate stress when you do pass on.
I recommend speaking with someone you trust and including them in your planning. You may also wish to appoint them to an executor role when preparing your will.
Other things to consider include: Who would you like to officiate your service? Do you have a friend or loved one you’d like to deliver a eulogy? Are there any special memories you’d like to have shared during your celebration?
No matter what your plan is, having those key individuals in place will provide some structure and will create a group that can find comfort in one another, knowing they are in this together.
Is Your Will Up to Date?
Just as planning your end of life service is important, so is planning for your estate.
Ensure you have an up-to-date will and take the time to review it annually. You may choose to work with a legal representative to understand how best to structure and divide your assets, as well as listing any other final wishes you’d like to have carried out.
Your wishes can contain details on how you would like to allocate your estate and any gifts you would like to give to people or charitable organizations.
When thinking about your funeral, consider using these questions as a starting point to help you plan. If you have any questions, reach out to a funeral director who can help guide you through this process. You can find your closest Arbor Memorial location by clicking here.