Funeral planning is something that most of us avoid. But helping your older adult make arrangements ahead of time means they’ll get the chance to tell you their wishes – you won’t have to guess at what they want. And, you won’t have to make those major decisions during a time of grief. iMortuary.com shares 5 ways to make the funeral planning process easier.
Caregiving isn’t just about taking care of someone’s daily needs. It’s also about making plans for the future, especially when it comes to things like funeral planning.
Even if this is a conversation you’ve been avoiding or aren’t sure how to introduce, we strongly suggest you make it a priority.
To avoid the common pitfalls and challenges that come with last minute planning, use these 5 ways to make funeral planning easier.
1. Plan in advance
Funeral planning is one of those tasks that’s almost always better when it’s done in advance.
As difficult as it might be to think about a world without your older adult in it, it’s much more difficult to make funeral decisions and financial plans after death occurs.
No caregiver can predict just how hard they’ll be hit emotionally by the death of a parent, relative, or close friend, or what kind of complications might arise because of the will, estate, or other family arrangements.
When possible, get any plans in writing and have them notarized. That helps prove that the documents are authentic in case issues come up in the future.
2. Set a budget
Funerals can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It all depends on what kind of funeral you have in mind and how much money you have to spend.
Although it’s not always easy to discuss money with loved ones (especially in regards to something like this), you should have a good idea of what kind of budget you’ll have for the funeral so that no one goes into debt.
If money is an issue, you could consider a funeral pre-plan or a burial insurance policy.
By knowing your expectations ahead of time (as well as the general price lists in your area), you can make these arrangements long before the funeral needs to be finalized.
3. Ask the important questions
It’s not always easy to have an open and honest discussion about death, but you should do this early on in the funeral planning process.
Are you going to opt for burial or cremation? Do you want a large, elaborate funeral at the cemetery or a private memorial service somewhere quiet?
Will it be open to the public or held among close friends? And where will the body be laid to rest after all the arrangements are taken care of?
Ideally, you should not only ask these questions ahead of time, but get the answers in writing. This way, you can avoid any disagreements between family members.
By knowing exactly what to expect at the funeral, everyone can focus on what really matters.
4. Consider cremation as a burial alternative
More and more families are stepping away from traditional burial and opting for a simpler, more intimate goodbye.
Even if you’ve never considered cremation before, it’s worth looking into. In fact, in places like Seattle, cremation is rapidly overtaking burial and all other procedures for post-death procedures.
Not only does cremation cost less overall, but the simplicity and flexibility of the process means that you can handle the rest of the details – the funeral, the final interment, the timing – on your own terms.
5. Organize the information
As a caregiver, you should have access to all the key documents and information necessary to handle your older adult’s affairs.
Things like bank account information, wills and estate information, deeds and titles, passwords for online accounts, and even personal and genealogical information are important for finalizing affairs after death.
Keep this information in a safe and secure location that you can access when needed.
Above all else, remember that funeral planning is just another type of help you’re providing to your older adult – and to yourself.
By tackling the difficult questions now, you’ll be giving your future self the space and time you need to grieve.
Recommended for you:
- Make End-of-Life Conversations with Seniors Easier with This Helpful Guide
- The Five Wishes Living Will Makes End of Life Easier
- Estate Planning Basics: Give Seniors Peace of Mind
Guest contributor: Matt Pressnall is the owner and founder of iMortuary.com, a website for funeral & planning resources. As the owner/founder of iMortuary, he has a lot of experience with memorials, funerals, and burials. And as someone who has worked for Disney, ABCNews.com, and The Seattle Times and won industry awards for said work, he has learned how to spread the knowledge he has in ways that help those who read his work.
Image: The Fountains of Hilltop
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