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Death is a natural part of the human process. Preparing in advance for death takes the burden off your family and ensures your family follows your directives. Making prearranged funeral plans takes careful planning and care, but prepayment for your services means your funeral arrangements occur whether your death is unexpected or not. While the idea of death and dying is uncomfortable for some, it's important to have a plan when the time comes.
Gather all your paperwork related to death and dying. This includes your will and advanced directives. Write out everything, in detail, related to the funeral service you want. Let your family know what you're planning and where to find your documents. If your family isn't informed of the fact that you prearranged your funeral, they may begin arrangements of their own that don't follow your wishes at all. It may also cause a financial problem if you've prepaid for your funeral and they pay for an unnecessary second one.
Choose your burial location or cremation details carefully. Your body or ashes are permanently located in the last resting place of your choice. Selecting a casket or urn usually occurs as you choose your burial plot, scattering site or other location, such as a mausoleum. Consider your family's desire to visit your burial location as you make these plans. If your choice of interment is far from family, they may not be able to visit or take care of your burial site. Keep in mind that transporting a deceased family member across state lines can be expensive and has strict regulations.
Decide what type of service you want. Do you want a traditional visitation and burial or just a graveside ceremony? Should there be clergy guiding the funeral? What do you want your obituary to say? Let your family know if there's a specific hymn, poem or meaningful moment you especially want included in your funeral ceremony. There are no laws forcing your family to follow your wishes, but having a plan already in place gives your family a place to start. If your funeral arrangements are prearranged and prepaid, it's easier for your family to follow your directives.
Whether you prepay for your funeral or cremation is a personal choice based on a multitude of factors, including state laws. Things to remember when prepaying for a funeral are whether you can make changes without incurring additional charges, and if not how much are the fees. Also, you'll need to know what happens to your money if the funeral home goes out of business. If you choose not to pay in advance, the cost of your funeral may change. Get everything in writing and make copies of all your documents to stay organized when planning your funeral in advance.
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