Unless you’ve already done so yourself, when you pass away, someone else will be in charge of making your funeral arrangements. Some of us just ignore the issue, assuming that our friends and heirs will step up and fulfil our wishes. The problem is, how do they know what your wishes are? Don’t you want some say in how you are remembered?
Stress at the time of loved one’s death can drive a wedge in families, bringing out old resentments and highlighting strong differences in personalities. One good way to avoid some of this tension is to preplan your services, and now is a good time no matter your current age and health. It costs nothing to document your plan and fill out basic paperwork.
Writing down your thoughts and wishes gives guidance to your family. Some choices you can make now are burial or cremation; cemetery or other final resting place; whether to have a funeral, a memorial service or celebration of life. Whichever means you choose, it’s important to provide the opportunity for friends and family to mourn, cry and laugh together. You may also wish to decide the following ahead of time:
* Military honors, flag, marker or plaque
* Religious preference, including house of worship and clergy
* Music selections you enjoy
* Where you want your obituary published
* Choice of casket, if applicable
* Casket bearers
* Any special thoughts on clothing you will wear
* And very importantly, to whom your accessories, jewelry, and other personal items should be returned after the service.
While you absolutely do not have to pay anything now, the funeral home staff will provide estimates so you can get an idea, for example what it will cost to place the obituary in a newspaper.
How to get started
The funeral director of your choice can get you started with just a click on their website. Forms are online as well, and it is fine if you approach more than one funeral professional to compare services and prices. They will meet you in person or, if necessary, aid you remotely. The process will be much easier if you gather the following paperwork in advance:
* Your birth certificate; you do not have to provide your social security number to preplan. * Any documentation of marriage and divorce.
* Military branch service records and discharge papers.
* Details on any cemetery plot you own or plan to acquire.
* Contact information for next of kin.
* Your parents’ names, birthdays, birth places and place of internment, if any.
There are benefits to prepaying, though it is optional
A woman on the East Coast recently shared her relief that when her Colorado-based in-laws died, they had preplanned all their services, bought a cemetery plot and had the stone engraved, except for the dates of passing. With no family living in the area, and with limited financial resources to cover final expenses, having everything in place was an unexpected blessing for the mourners, most of whom lived some distance away.
The convenience aside, there are financial benefits to prepaying. The funeral home can lock in expenses at today’s rates, which could rise significantly in the future. This does not apply to charges for outside services like printing the obituary, flowers, clergy or other officiant fees, venue rental outside the funeral home, and cemetery costs. Your prepayment is protected by law and is transferrable to a different professional provider, and the plan itself can always be altered.
After people preplan, they are often surprised at the relief they feel. If you are ready to get the process started, please reach out to Wheelan-Pressly. You will be doing a great service for yourself and the loved ones you may one day leave behind.
Thanks for reading our blog. You can reach out to us, Wheelan-Pressly Funeral Home and Crematory anytime at 309-786-5421.