Planning your own funeral can spare your loved ones from the emotional and financial burden of arranging your funeral in the future. A funeral director can walk you through your options and will take responsibility for carrying out your wishes when the time comes. You can choose to pay for your funeral expenses in a single lump sum or spread the payments out over several months. Here's an overview of what's involved:
A Pre-Paid Funeral
This option allows you to plan every aspect of your funeral and pay for it at today's cost, so your loved ones won't receive a bill later on if prices have increased since you planned your funeral. When you pay for your funeral in advance, your payment must be invested until your funeral takes place. This is a requirement of the Funerals Act. You will also be asked to make decisions about the following:
- Type of service
- Location of service
- Burial or cremation
- Content of service such as readings and music
- Coffin or casket style
- Floral arrangements
A Pre-Arranged Funeral
This is similar to a pre-paid funeral, but no payment is made until your funeral takes place. You can arrange to pay for the costs with a funeral insurance plan or you can leave money with a family member to cover the cost of the funeral. The funeral director will work with a named person to fulfil your predetermined wishes, but the cost of the funeral will be based on prices at the time of your service and not the prices when you arranged your funeral.
Three Essential Costs of a Funeral
The cost of your funeral will depend on your specific requirements, so it is possible to reduce the cost and keep things simple by, for example, forgoing flowers or opting for your favourite song to be played on CD rather than by a pianist. However, there are three costs that are an essential part of planning any funeral. These are:
- Professional service fees, which are paid to the funeral director in exchange for arranging your funeral
- Coffin or casket cost, which will vary depending on the style you have chosen
- Cemetery or crematoria charges, which are set by your chosen facility and can't be altered by your funeral director
Try to discuss your wishes with your loved ones and give them a copy of your pre-paid funeral contract or have a copy filed with your will. This will allow them to ensure your wishes are carried out as set out in the contract and allow them to feel involved to some extent. If you're pre-paid funeral comes as a complete surprise to them, they may feel hurt that you made plans in secret and not understand your reasons for wanting to arrange your own funeral.
If you'd like more information on pre-planning your funeral, contact your local funeral home and schedule an appointment with the funeral director such as David W Bull. They can provide you with a price list and answer any questions you may have.