6 Funeral pre-planning mistakes to avoid

End of Life Planning
Woman dressed in white sitting at a computer talks on the phone.

If you’re preplanning a funeral for a loved one or one for yourself, the process can be quite overwhelming. If this is your first time taking on such an endeavor, you could end up making some minor errors here and there. That’s okay, because mistakes lead to learning. Having said that, it’s always best to avoid funeral pre-planning mistakes, since  a funeral is very important. That’s why we created this little guide, which will show you 8 funeral pre-planning mistakes to avoid.

1. Not including information on the funeral invitations 

When it comes to writing and printing invitations for a funeral, you will want to make sure you include all of the information about the funeral service. Here’s some of the information you might include: 

  • where the funeral service will take place 

  • how to RSVP, such as providing ways to reply to the host (e.g., phone number, email, and even direct messaging on social media or accepting an invite on Facebook)

  • time of the funeral service

  • information about the deceased, such as a short obituary. 

Making sure that you’ve included all of this information will make it easier to plan specifics of the day, such as how much food you’ll need for guests at the post-funeral reception or memorial. It will also help you avoid any frustrations that may arise from people asking you questions about the funeral service details. 

2. Not making your wishes clear

The whole idea of pre-planning your funeral is to communicate your final wishes and lay out the details of your service. When there is a lack of communication, it will lead to confusion. This is especially important because it’s your family who will implement your funeral and burial arrangements. 

On the other hand, if you’re planning someone else’s funeral, you’ve got to ensure that you’re communicating with everyone involved. For example, if you’re the spouse of the person who passed on, you might want to consult with their parents, siblings, and maybe even adult children. Don’t let a simple mistake such as miscommunication create rifts between you and other family members. 

If you don’t communicate, you might make choices that don’t work for anyone, including the person that’s being memorialized.

3. Not planning your funeral before you die 

It can be quite uncomfortable to think about the inevitable, and that’s very much understandable. Having said that, if you don’t take the time to plan things like your funeral before you die, you can leave your loved ones with a difficult burden during their mourning period. 

Before you die, be sure that you’ve taken the time to sit down with a funeral director for an initial discussion. Afterwards, you can begin pre-planning together, along with any other professionals who will be part of the funeral service, such as a religious official. This period is when you want to make all of your last wishes known. This could be through pre-planning talks with a funeral director, or writing it in a legal will with the help of an estate attorney. We recommend that you take both routes: lay out the details when building your funeral pre-plan package and write it into your will. Some of the details of the funeral service could include what you’ll wear, what hymns or poems you choose, and many more.  

4. Not choosing the right funeral package 

When you’re planning a funeral for your loved one or you’re making arrangements for yourself, one of the most common mistakes is not selecting the right funeral package. Most people go to a funeral home and purchase with their eyes instead of shopping with their wallets. As with any business that provides services, a funeral home will throw marketing at you. It doesn’t mean they are not reputable. That’s just how the market works. 

So, before you begin looking for the funeral plan or package, you need to be upfront with the funeral director about how much you’d like to spend. After the budget is set, the funeral director can then move forward with helping you make selections that will fit within your price range. For instance, they’ll help you choose how you want your funeral to go and the length of your program, among many other details. 

5. Not saving money 

After you set up a funeral pre-plan package with your chosen provider, you can begin the process of making payments to the funeral home for the use of their services. One of the most common mistakes people make is that they wait until their loved one has passed away to start thinking about the financial aspects of a funeral.

The average funeral, not including the burial fees, is around $9,000, and will continue to increase in the next decade. Instead of waiting to pay for a funeral until after your loved one has passed, you should begin saving well in advance. Better yet, set up a funeral trust and make sure your loved one has a good life insurance policy. The same goes for your own funeral pre-planning. 

6. Not doing your research

Do your due diligence and begin researching the best funeral homes, reputable funeral directors, funeral plans, funeral trusts, life insurance policies, and cemeteries. Other things to consider are life insurance policies, will and estate lawyers and cremation services if you or the person you’re helping make funeral plans prefer to be cremated. During your research phase, you can also begin browsing and comparing the funeral plans that fit your budget. 

Look ahead…

Preplanning a funeral can be a tough thing to do, especially since we have to face our own mortality while still alive and well. However, as you’ve learned from our journey today, preparing for the future is one of the selfless and thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones. 

One of the most important steps in pre-planning your funeral is to choose the right funeral director. Check out our guide on finding trusted funeral directors to help you get started.