Dying is not something we like to think about too often. But what if there was a way to ease the pain for those left behind when you pass away? It is possible to make decisions about what happens after you die, including making funeral plans.
Planning ahead and having conversations with your loved ones about what you want to happen, can help those you love to celebrate your life in a meaningful way.
In this post, you’ll discover the things you should consider when planning your funeral, including how you can pay and who to talk to about your wishes.
Planning your funeral
People tend to start thinking about their funeral when they’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness or are nearing the end of their life. But there’s no reason you can’t start thinking about it and making plans earlier.
You can get some advice from a funeral director, or there are plenty of resources available online if you prefer to do things on your own.
When you’ve made your decisions, let your loved ones know your plan.
The benefits of planning your funeral ahead of time
- It reduces the stress for your family and allows them to focus their time on supporting each other rather than worrying about making funeral arrangements.
- It reduces the risk of family conflict and means there is one less decision your family members have to make and one less opportunity for family tension.
- You’re ensuring your wishes are met and it allows you to inject some of your personality into the event. You can also reflect on how you want to be remembered.
- You’ll be saving money.
- You’ll be able to prepare financially.
- It encourages meaningful conversations with your family.
Things to consider
When you’re planning a funeral, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, consider the following:
- Whether you want to be buried or cremated and if so where
- Who you would like to organise the day and contact the funeral director?
- Whether you have any preferences concerning how your body is prepared, for example, would you like to be dressed in special clothes?
- Who would you like to scatter or keep your ashes if you’re being cremated?
- If you’ve decided to be buried, is there someone special you’d like to carry your coffin?
- Where would you like your funeral to be held?
- Who would you like to be invited?
- Is there any special music you’d like to be played?
- Are there any readings, prayers, or poems you’d like included?
- Who would you like to make the speeches or readings?
- Do you have any preferences about what people wear to your funeral, for example, no black or dark clothing?
- Would you prefer people made a donation to your favourite charity rather than sent flowers?
- What about after the funeral – would you like people to have a party, gathering, wake, or celebration of life?
Who to tell about your decisions
There’s no point in making plans if you’re not going to tell anyone about them. Tell your friends and family, and write your wishes down to make it easier for people to remember them.
If you’re using a funeral director, you can ask that they send copies of the arrangements to your family or solicitor.
There is also the option of writing your wishes in a document that’s called an advance statement or advance care plan. When there is this kind of document available, it’s easier for those you leave behind to understand your wishes and follow them when the time comes.
Another option is to include your wishes in your Will, however, this part of the Will is the only part that’s not binding. It’s also a good idea to make a separate copy of your wishes just in case your Will is discovered after your funeral has been organised.
Paying for your funeral
There are several ways you can pay for your funeral. You could:
- Pay for your funeral in advance by way of insurance or a pre-paid funeral plan
- Leave money in your estate to cover the cost of your funeral
If you don’t choose one of these options and your loved ones can’t afford a funeral, there are ways the cost of your funeral can be reduced. For example, if they are in receipt of certain benefits, it’s possible to apply for a Funeral Expenses Payment from the government. In Scotland, there is the Funeral Support Payment.
When someone dies without enough money to pay for a funeral and there is no one to take responsibility for it, it is the local authority that must bury or cremate them. This is called a “public health funeral” and will include a coffin and a funeral director to transport them to the cemetery or crematorium.
As you can see, there are some very good reasons why you should plan your funeral ahead of time. It benefits you and the loved ones you leave behind.