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3 Reasons to Plan Your Own Funeral

From picking out a burial plot to writing an obituary, save stress for your loved ones by pre-planning your own funeral.

Planning your own funeral might sound maudlin but can actually be an uplifting experience with benefits for everyone in your life. What you decide now can help your surviving family members both emotionally and practically. Having your end-of-life plans organized in advance gives your loved ones a chance to say goodbye with dignity and peace.

1. Pre-arrangement keeps down stress among surviving family members

Give your loved ones a break as they are faced with both mourning your loss and giving you a fitting tribute. Plan your wishes well in advance to keep others from having to decide while grieving. It is best to do the planning while you can make rational decisions without stress, emotion, or illness getting in the way. Don’t leave the responsibility in the hands of family members who might find themselves in disagreement and under duress.

2. You can rest assured with the kind of funeral you want

When planning your own funeral, set the boundaries and specifications for how you would like to be remembered. When personalizing your funeral or memorial service, use this handy checklist:

  • What music is appropriate for you? Is anyone in your family musically talented and would you like them to play an instrument or sing?
  • Would you like to create a slideshow of photographs?
  • Are there items that you would like to have on display — personal artwork, collectors items, or memorabilia — that is important to you?
  • What Bible passages, poems, or other inspirational readings would you like included?
  • Would you prefer a funeral or a memorial service? Where do you want it to be held: church, funeral home, backyard, cemetery?
  • Rather than flowers, is there a charitable organization to which you would like people to donate in your name?
  • Is there someone special you want to deliver the eulogy or lead the services?
  • Do you want to be cremated or buried in a coffin? If cremated, should the remains be spread somewhere or buried? Where?
  • Would you like your service to be open or closed casket? What clothes should you be dressed in for cremation or interment?

3. Paying in advance is cheaper

Paying in advance saves money and takes the burden off your survivors. Don’t back your loved ones into a seller’s market where they can be pressured to overspend.

You can pick out a burial plot, a crematorium, a funeral home, and/or a coffin well in advance. You can also set aside money for your obituary and headstone. In fact, you can write your own obituary and epitaph or work with someone you trust to do it all in advance.

Your funeral does not have to be complicated. Decide on a budget and set aside money, purchase insurance, or start a savings plan. Make sure your closest family member — be it a spouse, child, or sibling — has access to your bank account after you’re gone.

The best way to plan your funeral is to do it yourself. It's free and easy. You should consider putting your wishes in writing as part of your last will and testament. It’s your party: Allow your family to celebrate your life by pre-planning the service.

For advice on how to prepare a last will and testament as well as other legal issues, check out the Highland Lakes Legal Guide.

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