Preplanning a funeral is a family affair

Funeral Planning
Funeral Planning

Preplanning a funeral is one of the most thoughtful ways to save your loved ones further stress when your time comes. It also helps financially speaking, as you typically pre-pay funeral expenses by setting up a prepaid funeral plan or creating a funeral trust. However, that doesn’t mean that you should pre-plan your funeral all by yourself: it’s recommended that you include your loved ones in the process. That way, everyone will be on the same page and they themselves will be prepared for the future.

In this article, we look at why preplanning a funeral is a family affair, and the benefits of doing so. 


Reasons to include family in preplanning your funeral

You might be asking yourself, “Why should I include my family in preplanning a funeral? Wouldn’t that be awkward, weird or uncomfortable?” That’s a fair and understandable question. By getting familiarized with the complicated process of funeral arrangements, they will begin to see why preplanning a funeral is very important in this day and age. For one thing, handling the financial costs of a funeral alone is more than a one-person job. The financial burden of funerals and interment (that is, burial and cemetery maintenance) is even more uncomfortable than having a realistic down-to-earth conversation with your loved ones about death. 

If you’re still not convinced that this is a good idea, here are some key reasons why you should include your family in this very critical decision in your life. 

It’s only fair 

It would be a great disservice to your family and other loved ones if you didn’t talk to them about your plans for your final departure. 

Although your funeral is ultimately about your wishes, remember that it is your surviving family and other loved ones who will carry the burden of implementing those wishes. They are the ones who will be talking and coordinating with funeral directors, cemetery management, life insurance policy providers, officiants such as priests, and all of the many other funeral service professionals that are a part of this process.

The point of preplanning your funeral is to eliminate or at least decrease that burden on your family. One of the most effective ways of doing that is by including your family in your preplanning process. After all, their opinions matter when they’re the ones who will handle the real-world aspect of your final departure.

Discuss all of the details of your preplanned funeral and what your final wishes are. Even if you already have a formal and legal will, having an intimate conversation with your loved ones – especially those you will entrust to carry out your final wishes – has a more human touch than a will that contains all sorts of legal-speak. 

Teamwork is better than going solo

Your family and other close loved ones can help you fulfill many of your wishes if you're unable to manage them by yourself. More often than not, people who choose to pre-plan their funeral do so because they are already critically or terminally ill. For this reason, you may not have the energy or physical strength to do all of the funeral preplanning all by yourself. Your thoughts could also be cloudy from stress and other responsibilities. This can be unhealthy for you emotionally, mentally and physically. 

But that’s what family is for! They are here to help us during our times of need and to guide us with their wisdom. So, if you decide to pre-plan your funeral, you can ask certain loved ones for advice regarding particular subjects. For instance, perhaps a family member has a legal or accounting background, so they would be the perfect person to look over funeral plans and trusts that you’re interested in. 

Maybe another family member or close friend has a creative flair for interior design and event planning. They could be the perfect person to organize the funeral reception, memorial or celebration of life. 

We can’t do everything ourselves, and why should we? Teamwork makes the dream work. 


Discussing funeral plans, funeral trusts, and other financial elements

In typical daily circumstances, it’s usually not considered proper social etiquette to talk about money. However, when preplanning a funeral, it’s actually one of the most essential things to do. That’s because the biggest issue with funeral arrangements and subsequent interment is the total cost. Funeral prices are increasing with each passing year. For instance, the cost of funeral services in the United States has increased rapidly. In 2021, the average funeral cost was about $9,500. In 2022, the cost of a funeral service is expected to range between $9,600 to $13,000. 

For this reason, it’s important to discuss any prepaid funeral plans you may have set up. Likewise, if you created a funeral trust, it’s best to disclose this to loved ones. You don’t have to disclose every small detail, like figures, but at the very least you should make it known what your family should expect when the time comes. This will not only prepare them on what to do and how to handle financial aspects of your funeral, but also give them peace of mind that they won’t have to carry a heavy financial burden. 

When you discuss such matters with close loved ones in advance, you free them to focus on what’s important when the time comes: grieving, self-healing and honoring your memory. 

Take care of the red tape and financial stuff now, so that your loved ones won’t have to.

We’re all in this together

Ultimately, what’s essential is that you work together as a family. Even if no formal arrangements are made during your discussions, at least they will rest easy knowing you will take care of the details of your final departure, so that they won’t have to deal with the complexity of funeral arrangements during a time of grieving. They will appreciate you for your thoughtfulness, resourcefulness, and forward-thinking on such an uncomfortable subject. This in turn will hopefully give them the same type of courage you display when looking toward the Great Unknown.

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.

Additionally, If you would like to build a digital legacy that will live on after your departure, you can create an online memorial here.