Although it may seem like a daunting task, pre-planning your funeral is a wise decision that will lessen the emotional and financial burdens on your loved ones. Moreover, pre-arranging your funeral will ensure that your personal preferences are satisfied, from the location and type of materials to the music and guests who are invited to the service.
While planning key aspects of your funeral service can be beneficial, remember that it’s okay to leave some things undecided. At the end of the day, any details that you can offer your family about your ideal funeral service will be helpful and offer valuable guidance throughout a difficult time. The following information offers a detailed look at how to pre-plan a funeral service, from location and budgeting to the importance of communication with loved ones.
The first step to pre-planning a funeral is to learn what your options are and determine which kind of service best suits your needs and preferences. After all, the more educated you are about your choices, the more confident you will be when planning your own service. Start by doing your homework — have any aspects of your funeral already been planned? Perhaps a family member generously purchased a cemetery plot for you years ago, but you haven’t thought about it since. Even though most people assume that nothing about their funeral service has been pre-planned, it’s worth taking a closer look to avoid paying for certain services or materials that you simply don’t need.
Consult with family members first to make sure that everyone is on the same page about what has or hasn’t been purchased for your service. Once you know whether or not any aspects of your funeral are already planned, it’s time to start considering what you would like your service to include. Of course, one of the first questions to ask yourself is whether you would prefer a classic burial, cremation or to donate your body to science.
While many people continue to associate funerals with traditional burial services, recent statistical trends show a rise in cremation rates in the United States. In fact, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), more and more Americans are opting for “non-traditional” burials, with a cremation rate of 56% in 2020. Classic burials, on the other hand, accounted for 37.5% of funeral services in 2020, with the remaining 6.5% representing alternative methods including the donation of the body to science.
When deciding whether a classic burial, cremation or perhaps donation to science is the best decision for you, most people base their decision on 2 primary factors: potential religious affiliation and finances.
Certain religions do not condone cremation — the Islamic and Jewish faiths, in particular, look down on the practice. Muslims are actually expected to bury individuals on the day of their death and consider cremation to be an unclean practice. Furthermore, Muslims are forbidden to attend, approve of or participate in cremation.
Similarly, many Jewish people condemn the practice of cremation, as Jewish law insists that the dead be buried in the ground. On top of that, cremation was historically associated with paganism, which the Torah urges Jewish people to reject. However, of the 3 branches of Judaism — Reform, Orthodox and Conservative — the Reform branch does technically allow cremation and more Jewish people are starting to choose cremation for their funeral service.
For these reasons and more, cremation may not be the most suitable choice for you if you identify as Muslim, Jewish, Mormon or even Greek and Russian Orthodox Christian, as these groups have historically been opposed to cremation.
Many people choose cremation over traditional burial today because of its advantageous cost. While a classic burial can range anywhere from $5,000-$15,000, a cremation is significantly less expensive. Common cremation costs range between $2,000-$10,000, with the higher figures including optional funeral home add-ons.
Depending on the type of funeral that you choose, it’s also important to think about the type of casket or urn that you would like to have. Choosing a casket or cremation urn that you like can take a weight off of your loved ones later, as they will know that you were satisfied with your choice. It’s worth noting that the price of a burial or cremation does vary depending on the state that a person lives in, so it can be helpful to take a look at local options before making a decision about cremation or burial. Finally, when making your funeral plans and purchasing prepaid services and materials, save your receipts, as your expenses could be tax-deductible on a future tax return.
There’s no doubt that pre-planning a funeral service can be a complex — and at times, overwhelming — process. However, for all of the arrangements that you can make to ensure that your funeral service is exactly the way you want, the most important step is communicating those desires to your family and loved ones. While you may pre-purchase a casket, choose a funeral director, pick out musical selections and more, your family members are the ones who will be working to combine all of these elements for a tasteful, respectful service that honors your memory.
The most impactful way that you can help your family satisfy your personal preferences is to let them know early on how you envision your service. Consider writing your family a detailed letter with guidance for your funeral service, or include details in your will.
Last but not least, one of the most crucial aspects of pre-planning a funeral is choosing where you would like to have your service and if you would like to work with a specific funeral home. Consider visiting a few different funeral homes to get an idea of which location and staff are the best fit for you. While there, feel free to ask any questions that you may have about pre-arranging a funeral service, cremation vs. burial options, specific services that the funeral home offers and more.
With years of experience helping individuals just like you pre-arrange respectful and beautiful funeral services, San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home in Queen Creek, AZ is honored to guide you through this process. For more information about pre-planning a funeral service or planning an imminent service, connect with our friendly and knowledgeable team by calling (480) 888-2682 or filling out our quick contact form today.