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Planning a funeral after someone you love dies can be stressful. Emotions are already running high, and when you’re overwhelmed by grief, making decisions can be difficult. There are so many decisions to consider: burial or cremation, type of service, and how to pay for everything.

If you want to save your family from all the stress that comes with planning a funeral, you can preplan your funeral. When you make choices about your funeral ahead of time, you’ll remove the burden of planning a funeral for your loved ones on one of the hardest days of their lives. Plus, you’ll save your family from emotional overspending – buying more than they need when they’re grieving.

older couple planning ahead for funeral wishes

When you preplan, you can learn about your options ahead of time and make choices that are good for you and your family. Ideally, a thoughtfully prepared funeral plan will help your family cope with your death and begin their grieving journey well.

Preplanning your funeral is simple and typically takes only an hour to complete! If you’re interested in preplanning, here are a few basic steps you can follow to create a healing and meaningful funeral plan.

1. Work with a local funeral service provider.

To start, locate a well-respected, locally-owned funeral home in your area. Your local funeral home is an excellent resource for you. They can help you include all of the necessary details in your plan. It’s what they do every day! Most funeral homes offer free funeral preplanning services and even offer ways to prepay for your funeral, which can help you save more money.

2. Consider the needs of your family.

family with grandparents enjoying time together

Next, think about what type of services your family will need. When a loved one dies, mourners have specific needs that must be met to help them grieve in a healthy way. They need a way to outwardly express their grief, remember and honor the one who has died, and search for meaning in the loss. A thoughtfully prepared personalized funeral service can be an important first step in a healthy grieving process.

3. Create a written plan and get a free cost estimate.

After you’ve thought about creating a service that will help your family heal, it’s time to document your wishes. You probably have a lot of ideas about what you’d like to include in your funeral services. But if you don’t write anything down, no one will know what you wanted! A funeral preplanning specialist can educate you on all the options available. Once your ideas are written out, you will receive a free cost estimate so that you can plan accordingly.

4. Make a financial plan.

person stacking up quarters

Next, it’s time to plan for finances. Let’s face it: death never comes at a convenient time. Some day in the future, your family will be responsible for coming up with a large amount of money in a very short time to cover funeral costs. Now is the time to start thinking about your plans to cover funeral expenses and relieve your family of that burden. While many people think their life insurance will cover their funeral costs, complications can delay or prevent payment. Instead, you can consider paying for your funeral in advance. Most funeral homes provide options for funding a funeral in advance, whether you want to pay for it in one lump sum or with a payment plan that fits your budget. Paying for services ahead of time can often save your family thousands of dollars in the long run.

5. Tell your emergency contacts about your plan.

Finally, once you’ve made your funeral plans, you should notify at least two emergency contacts. After all, having a plan doesn’t help if no one knows about it! Be sure to let your contacts know where they can find your important funeral planning documents.

Preplanning your funeral may be intimidating at first, but it pays off in the long run! The more you can plan in advance, the more peace of mind you and your family will have. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your local funeral home to set up a free preplanning consultation.

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