Contributed by: Camille Johnson, of Bereaver.
It’s only normal to want to avoid thinking about your own death. However, when the time does come, how do you want to leave your friends and family? Do you want them to have to figure out the finances along with what they think your final wishes might be? Or do you want to minimize the emotional impact by having your death planned out just as you had your life?
Benefits Of Planning Your Own Funeral
The biggest benefit of planning your own funeral is that it minimizes the stress on your loved ones at an extremely challenging time. Keep in mind also, scammers tend to target the vulnerable, and there is no time your loved ones will be more vulnerable than following your death. You can take the guesswork and stress out of the funeral planning process, eliminating the possibility of price gouging. If you have ever had to contact a funeral home to go through the process, then you understand how involved and difficult it is. While planning ahead can’t take your loved ones’ grief away, it’s better to have the groundwork laid for your final farewell than to not.
Your Body, Your Way
Considering that a funeral in the United States can easily cost $11,000 or more, your first step is to ensure there are funds available to cover your funeral, memorial, and any final expenses you leave behind. If you don’t have a family to support, look into burial insurance, which can do all of these things but at a much smaller cost than a traditional life insurance plan. Look into different policies to find the one that fits your needs.
Factors to consider when planning your own funeral aside from cost include how, exactly, you want your body handled when you die. As LiveScience explains, you have numerous options. While we usually think of being cremated, donated to a local scientific organization, or interred in a traditional burial, you could be buried naturally, sent out to sea, or even launched into space.
Services and Such
When thinking about your memorial service, you can also give it a little pizzazz. Don’t shy away from letting your personality shine through. The Coast reports country superstar Kenny Rogers recorded a video singing a tribute to his fans, Goodbye, at 81 years old, just a week before he passed. You don’t have to be a musician or an artist to leave a little bit of yourself behind, either. Think about the things you like to do in life. Are you a runner? Set aside some funds for your friends and family to run a 5K in your honor. These are just a couple of ideas, and the possibilities are truly endless.
Once you have a general idea of what you like, it’s time to put your plans down on paper. While you might think your will is the ideal solution for this, Nolo explains it’s better addressed in a letter of instructions. This is because wills are typically read long after your services. You can include specifics, like what color coffin or burial urn, your clothing, favorite music to be played, and activities you envision. Alternatively, you may choose to forgo decorations and instead make a donation to a charity that’s near and dear to your heart—and you can request your mourners do the same.
Remember, there are infinite number of ways to say goodbye. Address details as specifically or loosely as you wish, and tend financial concerns. Your friends, family, and those that love you the most will appreciate that you left them with a final farewell instead of a list of questions about what you might have wanted.