Planning Your Funeral Pre-Arrangements

by: Tim Thomas, Owner

The last thing that anyone wants to contemplate is the possible death of a loved one. It is no different for us at Home Care Assistance, especially when it comes to discussing the idea with the families of the loved ones we care for. For most of us, this is a conversation we avoid having until we are faced with that inevitable moment. Unfortunately, when a family member passes, it is the most difficult time to make objective decisions.

The death of someone you care for, together with wanting to make the right decision – especially when you have a limited amount of time to attend to all the details – leaves many families feeling overwhelmed. Often these decisions must be made when a family is grieving and is the least prepared.

planning for a funeral wreath outside

Many people have done everything they can to protect their family’s future: invested wisely, opened savings accounts and acquired insurance on their life and home, but they haven’t taken care of their own funeral arrangements – leaving one of the most difficult tasks to their loved ones to figure out at a time of sadness and loss. That’s why it is so important to give serious thought to personal wishes and to prearrange services in advance.

Here are some things to consider whether you are considering prearrangements for yourself or a loved one.

  1. Be Informed About the Choices Available

    How would you like to be remembered? Your funeral or cremation service should be personalized to reflect your wishes and should bring comfort to your family and friends. Today, no two services are alike. Videos, photographs, music, special readings and the involvement of family and friends are all appropriate and encouraged.

    Prearranging gives you the opportunity to become informed about the options in an unpressured environment, when you have the time to think things through. You’re in full control and you can select and specify the services that truly have meaning to you and your family.

  2. Your Wishes Need to be Documented

    Many people think they have taken care of everything by writing a will, establishing a living will or even purchasing their cemetery plot.

    A will simply leaves instructions for the handling of an individual’s financial affairs, while a living will usually clarifies certain general wishes regarding medical treatment. The funeral or cremation service still remains to be planned and paid for.

    Survivors benefit the most when you prearrange. When a funeral or cremation service is not prearranged, someone who may not be aware of your wishes may have to make all of the decisions. Prearranging ensures that your wishes are made known.

    You should make sure that your wishes are recorded in writing and shared with family members and your attorney. You should also keep a copy with your important papers in a place that is easily accessible to your family members.

  3. Talk About it with Your Family and Incorporate Their Wishes

    A funeral or memorial service is an important part of the grieving process. For family members and loved ones alike, the service provides an opportunity to express their grief, to share memories and to celebrate a life lived.

    When planning your funeral or memorial service, the opinions and wishes or your family should be considered. Prearranging is an excellent time for families to discuss and make objective decisions calmly and rationally together, away from the pressures and stress that often occur at a time of sadness and loss.

  4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About Prices

    The cost to arrange a funeral or cremation service can vary considerably from place to place. Be careful to choose a funeral home that presents its prices clearly and simply.

    Prearranging also gives you the opportunity to become informed about your options and their various costs in an unpressured environment. You’re in full control and you can make objective decisions regarding affordability. You may decide to spend less or more, but the decision remains yours.

    Prearranging enables you to keep your financial commitment to a comfortable level while eliminating the future financial burden placed on your surviving family members.

  5. Consider Planning and Prepaying for Your Arrangements

    Prepaying for your funeral or cremation services makes good financial sense. When you prearrange, you benefit from purchasing at today’s prices for an event that may not happen for many years. The cost of the products and services you select may never be lower.

Remember, making decisions now about your funeral arrangements can help assure those left behind that your wishes are being honored. Planning your final arrangements now can significantly reduce the number of difficult decisions that confront loved ones at a time of loss.

This article was written by Home Care Assistance in conjunction with Dignity Memorial, Canada’s largest network of funeral, cremation and cemetery services. Dignity Memorial funeral counselors are trained professionals who can be a vital and supportive resource for you and your family. With years of experience, they can explain all the options available and help you make informed decisions. They can also guide you step-by-step through the process of prearranging your funeral or cremation service. To learn more about the topics discussed in this article or to find a Dignity Memorial provider, call 800-34-DIGNITY.


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