It’s probably something you’ve not actually thought about but have you got any specific ideas on what you want to happen after you die? Death and dying can be an uncomfortable subject to think about but it is a good idea to give them some thought before it’s too late.

For example, your funeral plans might include whether you want to be cremated or buried. Do you have any wishes about how your body should be prepared? Where would you like to have your funeral? Who should be invited? What music do you want played? Whether you want people to send flowers or donate to a charity of your choice.

Why You might Want to Plan Your Own Funeral

Planning your own funeral might seem a little weird, but it’s perfectly normal. There are many reasons why you might choose to make your own funeral plans. Some of the most common are:

  • You have particular wishes for what happens when you die
  • Pre-planning would help your loved ones
  • Making plans for your funeral gives you a sense of control
  • To help come to terms with death and dying

There’s No Right Time for Making Funeral Plans

There’s no right or wrong time when it comes to making funeral plans. Some people choose to make funeral plans when they discover they have a terminal illness, or after a loved one passes away. Others might feel they should start making plans at a particular age.

Some people will have very clear ideas about what they want from a young age, whilst others might give it no thought at all. You might also find that your wishes change as you get older. 

Step-by-Step Funeral Planning

The first decision you’ve got to make is whether you want a cremation or burial. Many other aspects of your funeral will be shaped by this important decision. You can base your decision on your cultural background, your faith, or just your personal preferences. Some things you might want to consider:

Cremations:

  • Often more affordable
  • Some religions forbid cremation 
  • It gives your loved ones more time to decide what to do with your ashes
  • More flexibility on your final resting place

Burials:

  • Generally more expensive\may be a religious requirement
  • Your loved ones will have a specific site to visit
  • Sometimes it’s more environmentally friendly

Depending on whether you choose cremation or burial, there are some follow-up decisions you’ve got to make:

For a cremation, do you want:

  • Your loved ones to scatter your ashes at a particular location?
  • A particular person to keep hold of your ashes?
  • Your ashes to be interred (buried at a particular location)?

For a burial, do you want:

  • To be buried with a personal item or in a particular outfit?
  • To be buried in a specific location such as a woodland area?
  • Anyone in particular to carry your coffin?

There is no official list of things you must pre-plan, and everyone’s funeral plan will look different. However, there are some common considerations, for example:

  • Who will take charge of logistics?
  • Who will conduct the event?
  • Whether your end-of-life event should take place in a particular location
  • Do you have specific needs according to your faith?
  • Should the event be traditional, more of a celebration, or a combination of both?
  • Is there any particular music you’d like played or passages read?

You also have the option of planning certain parts of the funeral and not others. Something else to consider is offering different options. This will help your loved ones make decisions if your first choice is not possible.   

Passing on Your Wishes

You should make your wishes clear and easy to find after you die. There are different ways you can do this. You might start by discussing your plans with family and friends. On the other hand, you might choose to do something more formal, or write your wishes down. 

When a loved one passes away it can be a very emotional time for those left behind. It might be difficult for them to remember exactly what you wanted. This is a good reason to write your wishes down on a piece of paper, making sure you let your loved ones know where it is. 

A very clear way of stating exactly what you want is to write your wishes in your Will. As long as your loved ones know where to find your Will, they’ll have the information they need at the right time for arranging your funeral. 

Another option is to write your wishes in a specific document. This kind of document is known as an advance care plan, anticipatory care plan, or advance statement. It tends to include a person’s wishes for both end-of-life care and what happens after they pass away. 

Some funeral directors offer a funeral plan service which lets you choose exactly what you want for your end-of-life event. 

Paying for Your Own Funeral

There are a number of options when it comes to paying for your funeral:

  • You could make sure there is enough money in your personal bank account to pay for your funeral
  • Life insurance can help cover funeral costs
  • A funeral plan is usually prepaid by the person who has died

Let’s finish up by saying that thinking about your funeral is normal, no matter how old you are. Whether you choose to plan your own funeral or not, it’s important that you do what is right for you and your loved ones. Never feel pressure to choose a particular option

Photo by Eli Solitas on Unsplash