Many people choose to plan their own funeral, leaving specific instructions regarding the service, choice of coffin, burial or cremation, wake, charitable donations and more. Some people also make provision to ensure that all of their funeral costs are paid for in advance, avoiding any unnecessary stress for their loved ones at an already difficult time.
If you decide to pay your funeral costs prior to your death, there are many ways you can do this. There are specialist funeral plan providers offering a range of options and some funeral providers offer certain schemes too. As well as making a one-off upfront payment you can also pay installments to reach your chosen amount. Make sure you research your options carefully and assess any additional costs for monthly installment plans over a single payment option. It is important that your family know about your chosen plan and where they can access the details when the time comes.
If you would prefer, you can of course leave instructions within your Will that your estate must cover the cost of your funeral. This would usually be a reimbursement situation, with the family initially covering the costs while legalities are finalised, receiving full reimbursement once your estate is settled.
With regard to the details of your funeral itself, it is essential that you write down your wishes and make your loved ones aware of where your instructions will be left. It’s no good writing everything down and filing it neatly with your personal belongings, only for your family to find it after your funeral has taken place. In the same way, leaving instructions within your Will is fine, but often Wills aren’t read until after the deceased’s send off, so again, your wishes could be overlooked. Communication is key! You don’t need to share the exact instructions if you would prefer not to, but you must make the right people aware of the whereabouts of your funeral wishes.
Within your instructions you may like to specify the type of coffin you would like to be laid to rest in. Nowadays, more environmentally friendly pictorial cardboard coffins are becoming increasingly popular – they don’t just provide a personalised and unique design, but can be much more cost effective than traditional wooden coffins too.
You may choose to request that mourners don’t send flowers and select a charity for people to make donations to instead. Many people also ask that those attending the funeral don’t wear black – if you would prefer your send off to celebrate your life, then there is no right or wrong way to do this.
Music, hymns and readings are also important elements of the funeral service for many people. Leaving specific instructions saves loved ones deliberating over what they think you would have preferred. When grieving, decisions like this can seem daunting and the pressure can be traumatic for some. By making your own choices upfront, you alleviate all that stress and worry.
Funerals are no longer limited to the traditional format and your choices for music, transport, coffin, wake and all other elements are endless. Leave detailed instructions explaining why you have made your choices to enable grieving family and friends to find comfort from your funeral.
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