Funeral Planning Guide: FAQ

Why do I need to put my instructions in writing when my family already knows what I want?

Your family may know what you want, but not every detail. They may miss out important things, especially if they are grief-stricken. Sometimes they may not be able to handle things properly and be unable to deal with your loss. The stress of taking care of funeral details may also be too much for them. Arranging for your funeral beforehand may also save your family from arguing with each other in case members may have different preferences. So do your family a favor and put your wishes in writing.

Another important consideration is cost. Planning ahead will often make it less expensive compared with arrangements made only after the person’s death.

What could happen if I don’t leave written instructions for my funeral?

If there is no written instruction, the laws of your state will determine who will make the decisions regarding your funeral arrangements. Below is the order of choice that states may generally follow:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Next of kin
  • Public administrator designated by a court

If your life is simple, and same with your family, you may see nothing wrong with this order. However, what if your spouse dies before you? What if you have more than one child and they do not agree with the choice? If any dispute occurs, it may likely go to court and will potentially cause conflict. Instead of relying on the state to determine the person, it is better to take the time and write down your wishes and save your loved ones the trouble later.

Shouldn’t I put my funeral wishes in my will?

No. A will is generally read only after a few weeks after your death. Sometimes it takes month. So putting funeral wishes on a will is practically useless because by the time it is accessed, the funeral is long over.

If not my will, where should I leave my written funeral instructions?

People would most commonly leave the funeral instructions with their estate executor and/or attorney, and copies of it sent to loved ones. It is important to let everyone close to you know that there is such a written instruction to avoid conflict later on. Should you want to change your plans, update your instructions immediately and also inform the same people to whom you gave copies.

What should I write in my funeral plan?

Write down your personal wishes regarding your funeral plan. You may want to consider your cultural or religious background, and other preferences. Mostly, a funeral plan contains the following:

  • Whether you wish to be cremated, buried and/or embalmed
  • The facility where you wish to be buried or cremated
  • The type of container you wish to be buried or cremated in
  • How your remains will be transported to the facility you select
  • Whether you wish to have any ceremony accompany your funeral
  • The details of any such ceremony
  • Whether you wish any pallbearers and who they will be
  • Whether you wish any sort of marker, such as a tombstone

What services are available from a mortuary?

Typically, mortuaries and funeral homes handle most of the details involved in arranging for funerals, such as:

  • Retrieving and transporting the body from the place of death to the facility
  • Storing the body
  • Preparing the body for the funeral
  • Making any necessary funeral arrangements
  • Conducting the funeral ceremony

I want my funeral to be modest, what can I do to keep it cost-effective?

Some people may be surprised at how much funerals could cost. You can save more money by planning ahead. Decide where you would want to be buried and other services you may want. You may consider paying the facility in advance. You then need to look around and find the right provider for you.

Funeral societies are also helpful. They can provide you with a list of reputable funeral homes and other valuable information. They may also be able to let you in on the legalities involved and other tips on making funeral arrangements. The society could also help you decide on what services you prefer at a certain price. This way, you will be able to know how much your funeral will cost and prepare for it in advance.

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