How to Bring Up Final Arrangements

Talking about final affairs of one’s life can be a very touchy subject.  End of life arrangements come with a lot of existential thoughts and emotions that can make discussing them difficult for anyone. 

You might be feeling confused and anxious, which is completely normal and understandable.  But one of the greatest gifts you can give your family is the ability to take care of you and your estate when you are no longer here to take care of them. 

Having final expense insurance can also give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that, no matter what, whenever the time comes everything is going to be taken care of. 

Peace of Mind

Ensuring that your affairs are in order and that all necessary arrangements are made shouldn’t be something that fills you with dread; in fact, just the opposite.  Knowing that financial and legal issues are squared away gives you the opportunity to spend your mental energy where it belongs, focusing on time spent with your loved ones and living your life. 

These are not arrangements only you have ever had to make.  They are a part of life for everyone, and thinking about them for a little while now means not having to fret about them later, or force your loved ones to have to think of them while they are dealing with the emotions that come with grief at a later date. 

Treating it like any other arrangement needed is key; it’s also a way to ensure that everything goes the way you want it to when you are no longer able to make that decision, and that there will not be any questions or hang-ups when it comes to plans and preparations.

What You Need

Making final ceremonial, burial, and financial arrangements can seem overwhelming.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way (sorry, we couldn’t help it).  Here are a few things you will need to think about:

Planning a Funeral or Memorial Service – 

Planning the funeral or memorial service is one of the more involved aspects of planning.  

  • Funeral:  Anyone, regardless of their plans for burial or cremation, can have a funeral.  A funeral can take place in a church, a funeral home, or even a private home.  During a funeral loved ones, religious leaders, and friends can eulogize the deceased, and reminisce on their lives and memories of them.  You can pre-select all of the variables for your funeral so nothing’s left up for debate: the songs you want played at the service, the types of flowers you prefer to have at your funeral, the people you would like to speak at your funeral, and even the pallbearers who will carry your casket. You can also decide what type of final disposition you’d like (such as burial or cremation).

  • Graveside Service: A graveside service is very similar to a funeral, but typically involves a more intimate crowd and takes place at the grave site pre-burial.  You can choose to have a graveside service on it’s own or following a more formal funeral. 

  • Memorial Service: A memorial service is almost exactly the same as a funeral, with one exception: the body is not present.  Much like with a memorial versus a grave stone.  Memorial services have also been known to be more casual, so it’s an opportunity to really plan every detail you can to make it as personal to your life as you’d like.  

Pre-planning the Arrangements & Reception

  • Wake or Viewing: this is a time for close family and friends to have a moment alone with the body of the deceased, usually before any full-blown ceremony.
  • Visitation: Visitation is to a wake or viewing what a memorial is to a funeral – the only difference is that there is no body present. 

Elements of the Service: 

A typical funeral service lasts about 2 hours.  It’s important to consider how you’d like to personalize the typical components involved, as well as which ones are important for you to include (such as wake/viewing, formal service, religious or otherwise, eulogy from loved ones and friends, a closing ceremony, reception, etc).

– Reception Types, Location, Decor: Research where you would like your reception to be held, what foods, music, and size you want.  Choosing flowers, music and participants for your service ahead of time can be very helpful as well. 

Research Funeral Homes & Memorial Service Packages & Options

There are many different funeral homes and service package options they provide, so it’s important to ask each home you research what they offer.  Make sure the funeral home you choose has:

  • A long and positive reputation,
  • Offers pre-payment plans,
  • Has a sizeable array of options,
  • Will work with your insurance provider (if you are using insurance to pay for your arrangements). 

Bonus points if they are located close to your loved ones and offer flexible payment options.   

Payment Options

This is arguably the most important and best thing you can do for your loved ones.  It ensures they can focus on the important things, such as their well being and celebrating you, after you pass… as opposed to having to figure out legal and financial issues that you did not take care of before your passing.  Many funeral homes and cemeteries offer pre-payment options, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your options sooner than later. 

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