4 Things You Need to Know About Planning Your Own Funeral

Jun 13, 2023 | Resources for Individuals

At the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, we know that funeral planning is the last thing people want to do when grieving the loss of a loved one. As such, planning your own funeral is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones. By planning your funeral in advance, you can alleviate this burden for your loved ones, make proactive financial arrangements, and reduce the likelihood of family conflict, all while ensuring your wishes are respected. Of course, planning a funeral can be daunting, especially when it’s your own! Keep reading to learn a few helpful tips from the experts.

Organize Your Funeral Planning Documents
As you navigate the process of planning your funeral, you’ll collect a number of important documents that detail your wishes. These documents may include your will, life insurance policies, financial account details, advance healthcare directives, and documents that specify your funeral-related requests. Make sure your loved ones will be able to access these documents in your absence.
Digitizing your funeral planning documents will allow for efficient and secure storage and sharing. Physical documents can be lost, damaged, or destroyed, but digital files can be encrypted and protected with passwords, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. You can also make backup copies of your digital files to ensure their preservation. To digitize your documents, simply scan your paper records to your computer and use an online tool in order to combine PDF files into single documents. This will ensure the records you need are all in one place!

Familiarize Yourself with Your Funeral Options
When you’re ready to start planning your funeral, research the various funeral options available and understand the
associated costs and legal requirements. Keep in mind that funerals can be expensive, costing between $7,000 and $9,000 in the US. For those looking for more affordable options, Better Place Forests lists several funeral alternatives, including direct cremation, cremation with a service, ash scattering, or celebrations of life held at home.
You should also consider whether you want a traditional burial, cremation, or an alternative, eco-friendly method such as human composting or aqua cremation.

Consider How You’ll Pay for Your Funeral
When it comes to funding your own funeral, you have a few basic options. For example, you could make a lump sum payment to your chosen funeral home to lock in the current pricing. However, this will limit you and your family in the event that your wishes change or you move out of state in the future. There is also the possibility that a funeral home might go out of business, taking your money with it. Other options include setting up a designated savings account, a Payable on Death (POD) account, or purchasing life insurance. Just make sure you understand any waiting periods that may apply before your loved ones can access your funeral funds.

Appoint a Representative
Even with your funeral wishes documented in writing, consider appointing someone to be in charge of arranging your funeral. Appointing a funeral agent trumps the normal next-of-kin rules This representative could be anyone, from your spouse to your estate executor. You might want to appoint a representative if you think your relatives may not honor your wishes or you’re estranged from your next of kin. Funerals360 stresses that your funeral agent is not obligated to carry out your wishes if they are impractical, illegal, or financially burdensome, so make sure you plan and budget accordingly.

Planning your own funeral is a gift that can bring immense relief to your loved ones during a challenging time. By organizing your funeral planning documents and digitizing them for easy access and secure storage, you ensure that your wishes are readily available and protected. Additionally, exploring your various funeral options and their associated expenses will help you make informed decisions and plan a personalized send-off that aligns with your preferences and values.

Are you a funeral director? Consider becoming a member of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association for exclusive benefits, support, networking opportunities, and public confidence. Contact us today to learn more!

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