Considerations for Funeral Preplanning

A funeral service in a church

Planning your funeral in advance can not only help make sure your wishes are fulfilled, but also help make the grieving process easier on your loved ones after you’re gone. However, it can be difficult to think about your own funeral and life after you pass, and most people don’t even know where to start in the process. Even if your funeral is decades away, planning now can help relieve stress and give you and your family peace of mind. Here are a few considerations for funeral preplanning to help get you started.

Elements of a Preplanned Funeral

When it comes to putting a plan in place for your funeral, there are several elements to think through and consider. Take each section one at a time, and work through the steps as you’re able. While this list can feel overwhelming, not all of it needs to be completed now. These are just steps to take to help with the planning process.

Prepping Paperwork

It is important to have documented and easily accessible information your loved ones may need, such as your:

  • Full name
  • Family members names and contact information
  • Occupation and work history
  • Retirement date
  • Military service information
  • Marriage certificates
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Investment and retirement account information
  • Etc.

Having this prepared and saved ahead of time can help your family members coordinate funeral arrangements easier during the emotional time. It can also help make creating an obituary easier.

Type of Burial

The next step is to choose the type of burial you wish to have. Options include:

  • Traditional in-ground burial: If you prefer traditional cemetery burials, want outdoor visitations, want to give loved ones the opportunity to place flowers or other décor at the site, and want a marker or monument to memorialize you, this type of burial may be best. These burials typically involve a casket, gravesite, and memorial installed at the gravesite, with a funeral service preceding the burial.
  • Above-ground burial in a mausoleum or lawn crypt: There are different types of mausoleum and crypts you can choose from. These burials typically involve choosing a location, selecting a crypt plate, identifying the location level, and other steps.

Lawn crypts allow for two people to be memorialized together, made up of a gravesite or plot, casket, memorial, and vault.

  • Cremation: If you choose to be cremated, you can also have a memorial service, funeral service with viewing, or immediate cremation. This option is usually the lowest cost and is great for those who wish their remains to stay with their loved ones, or to be scattered. Choosing an urn ahead of time as well can be a meaningful gesture for your family.
  • Natural burial: Natural burials don’t involve embalming, a casket, or a burial vault. Your remains will be placed directly into the earth, allowing you to decompose naturally. This non-traditional form of interment still allows for things like headstones, flowers, and monuments. Depending on your final resting place, there may be different rules and regulations for natural births, so talk to the cemetery to learn more.

Funeral Services

Think about the ceremony and celebration you want before the burial or cremation. For example, do you prefer a traditional memorial service followed by a graveside service? A funeral service in your own home? A wake prior to the funeral? A religious mourning event?

Also determine who will be involved in the funeral service, such as who the clergy or other members of a religious organization will be, who will do any readings or songs, etc. Consider transportation services here as well.

Burial Products

Next, consider some of the different burial products that are available that you may be interested in. These could include the type of casket or urn, flowers, a headstone or monument, and others.

You can even plan details such as what type of headstone or memorial you want, the material and color, and the text or image you want on it. You can work with a funeral director or local monument service to help make these choices.

Choosing a Cemetery

This may be an easier decision if your family already has a cemetery where they bury all of their loved ones. If not, or if you want to be buried somewhere else, you can check an online directory to find cemeteries in your area.

Or, if you prefer cremation, you may want to consider if you want your ashes scattered somewhere. There are some rules and restrictions on where or when you can scatter ashes, so be sure to research those to avoid any headaches for your family.

Personal Touches

Finally, you’ll want to think through and plan additional personal touches you may want to have. These could include specific music, hymns, and readings, both who will perform them and what they are. Other details may be who will deliver eulogies, who will be pallbearers, preferences for clothing/jewelry/makeup/etc.

You may also want to consider leaving a message for loved ones, such as a written letter to be shared with them after you’re gone. All of this can be created and planned in advance.

Other Considerations

In addition to the above elements of a funeral, there are other factors to consider when preplanning.

  • First, do some research on the average cost of a funeral in your area. This should include all of the elements from above. While you shouldn’t pay for anything now because prices can change, you can make sure you have enough set aside for the funeral in the future.
  • Don’t feel pressured into buying anything you don’t want. You also don’t have to get everything from the same place. For example, you may want to use a local florist for flower arrangements instead of the funeral home.
  • Be sure to write everything down, including the elements above and how much you want to spend. Have the conversation with your loved ones to ensure everyone is on the same page and feels comfortable with the plans.
  • It may be helpful to list friends and family members to notify once you pass away. This can help loved ones ensure the most important people to you are informed of funeral arrangements.

Get Help from the Experts

Tegeler is a family business that has been serving communities in Maryland and the surrounding regions for years. We help people plan and choose monuments and memorials for themselves or their loved ones and provide resources to help them through the funeral planning and grieving process.

While thinking about your own funeral can be difficult, it’s an important step in helping your loved ones and providing peace of mind. When you’re ready, contact Tegeler Monument to get help with all of your monument and memorial planning needs.