Death is a topic few people like to think about, especially when it comes to their own passing. Considering your own death can be difficult, but it may also be necessary. Here are five reasons why you may want to plan for your own funeral.
1. Remove some of the financial burden
Funerals can be expensive. In August 2017, the Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand estimated that services typically range anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000, but could cost much more. Even if your funeral is on the lower end of that scale, it may be difficult for family members to come up with the money needed on what is often short notice.
For some, the desire to help ease their family’s financial burden is a big driver for planning their own funeral. A funeral insurance policy could help you provide the funds needed for a service or any other final expenses. This can help remove a bit of the stress your loved ones may experience.
2. Get what you want
Many people have preferences for their funeral, but may not realise it until they start planning. You may already have strong feelings about burial versus cremation. Being laid to rest next to a family member or having your ashes scattered in a specific spot may be important to you. You may even have a favourite song or poem you’d like to be performed during the service.
By planning your own funeral, you can help ensure that the service meets your final wishes. You can customise as much or as little as you like, selecting options that reflect your personality. Your family can say goodbye in a way that celebrates your individuality, instead of paying for a cookie-cutter farewell.
3. Decide what you don’t want
On the flip side, planning ahead can help you avoid elements that you absolutely would not want at your funeral. This might include having a completely secular service, instead of a religious one. It may mean choosing a simple casket or urn to house your remains. You may even ask that certain people not be invited to the service.
Again, planning your funeral service can help you make sure that your final wishes are met. Considering what (or who) you don’t want at your service can also help your family further personalise the funeral.
4. Allow yourself to take your time
Death often comes suddenly, with a funeral needing to be planned on short notice. Families may spend as little as one week arranging a service for their loved one. This can lead to hasty decisions, especially if the family received no instructions from the deceased.
One advantage of pre-planning your funeral is that you can take your time. Setting aside time each week to write down your wishes can help you collect your thoughts. You can make unrushed decisions, and even discuss options with close family. You’ll also be able to change your mind should your preferences or circumstances change.
5. Give your family time to grieve
The death of a loved one can be a difficult time for those left behind. Planning a funeral can be confusing and overwhelming. There are countless decisions to be made and options available, adding to what is already a stressful situation for many. Before they know it, the service is over, and they may not have had a chance to pause and reflect on their loss.
You don’t need to plan every detail of your funeral, but providing some guidance for your family could provide them with relief. Sorting out even the bigger aspects—how it will be paid for, burial or cremation, where you’ll be interred—can remove some decision-making stress. Your family can instead focus on what really matters, grieving in their own time and helping each other cope.
If you’re ready to plan your own funeral, set aside some time to think about your wishes. Take your time to gather your thoughts, and write down any requests you may have. Once you’ve finished, talk to your loved ones about your decisions. Ultimately, your family will be in control of the final service, but they can’t put your wishes into action if you never share them!