How to Pre-plan Your Funeral?
Planning your funeral is not an undertaking we expect ourselves to take on, but many benefits come from doing it ahead of time. It is a very responsible and considerate act, especially for those who otherwise would be left to do it on your behalf. Plus, there’s the added value of knowing that when the time comes, your loved ones can celebrate you and your life in the way you want to be remembered.
There’s no denying that funeral planning can be overwhelming and can even leave people depressed, resulting in them putting it off for as long as they can. But let’s discuss why you should pre-plan your funeral and how we can help alleviate some of the stresses involved during the planning process. Your peace of mind is our priority.
When you are beginning the funeral planning process, consider the following:
- What is my budget?
- What kind of urn is the most appealing to me?
- Identify the makes and models of the urn, plus any perks
- Would I like to include any extras?
- Purchase urn and perks
Although not an exhaustive list, these initial questions can help you break everything down to not feel overwhelmed. Read on for further aspects you should consider when pre-planning your funeral.
Burial, Cremation or Donation
An important factor to consider when pre-planning your funeral is whether you would like to be buried, cremated or whether you would like to donate your body to science. Some people evaluate their budget at this point, as expenses may influence their decision in which way they would like to go. It’s worth noting that the cost of a funeral service is vastly different amongst each of these options. A funeral service in Victoria for a burial can set you back anywhere between $7,000 – $10,000 on average, whereas a cremation can cost between $1,500 – $5,000. However, if you decide to donate your body to science, this would usually not cost you anything.
For those who opt to purchase life insurance, which these days are comparable and competitive with their inclusions and overall premiums, some policies cover the cost of a funeral service, so you may be able to have your ideal and chosen form of send-off if you decide to go down this route.
Keeping Your Remains
Typically, when opting for burial, you need to decide the type of casket you would like. A common urn for human remains, there are many different types of caskets available on the market today. They mostly differentiate by starting from basic models and can range all the way up to very luxurious types. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your budget. If you would like to be cremated, you can choose where you would like your remains to be kept or a place where you would like for a loved one to scatter your ashes. There are benefits to both of these options; read on for more information.
Typically, if you choose to be buried, it will be in a burial vault. Present approximately six feet underground, a burial vault is a sealed chamber encompassing your casket. It protects the contents from the weight of the earth, resulting from the movement of heavy machinery such as industrial lawnmowers or earthmovers. The vault is made of both concrete and a combination of materials that line the casket. It can include bronze, copper, stainless steel, and high-impact plastics for durability, resistance to water and overall style.
In-Ground Lawn Crypt
Sometimes preferred over a burial vault, this inground mausoleum includes a completely enclosed chamber intended for multiple caskets that can be stacked on top of each other. As multiple caskets can be placed in this space, the chamber protects the casket’s contents far better than a burial vault.
Above Ground Lawn Crypt
Like an inground crypt, this lawn crypt is placed above ground and provides sufficient water drainage to preserve the contents.
A Private Above Ground Mausoleum for Burial or Cremation
A mausoleum is a private above-ground construction, usually intended to hold the remains for individual families. Although costly, this is a popular option if you wish your family to be secluded from other burial plots. You can bring other family members who want to be buried in the same space to contribute financially towards the erection of this structure.
A Public Mausoleum Above Ground for a Burial or Cremation
This type of structure houses many individuals and is open to the public to be elected to have their remains rest here. But unlike private above-ground mausoleum, in a public mausoleum, you will be placed next to those who aren’t related to you. Many who choose this option prefer not to be placed underground.
This option includes no embalming liquids, caskets or burial vaults. The remains are placed directly into the ground, allowing the body to decompose naturally. You may opt for a biodegradable urn for this purpose, of which there are many available on the market.
Almost indistinguishable from a natural burial, green burial doesn’t allow pesticides where the remains are placed. Cemeteries must ensure that families of those or individuals whose remains are buried have also opted for green burials, so no embalming liquids or other caskets are used or laid.
Spreading Ashes for Cremation
When opting for cremation, you can choose to have your ashes scattered in a location that is of large significance to you. Also, it is important to note any laws relevant to the scattering of ashes in the state you reside in. In Victoria, there aren’t any specific laws in place of where one must not scatter cremated ashes; however, it is wise to note that your local council may have their own regulations in place, so check with them before making a decision.
As a further thought, while choosing where you want your ashes to be scattered, factor future access to the place. You may want your ashes to be scattered in your backyard, for instance, but in the future, the house may get sold out, or a commercial development might restrict your loved ones’ access to the place. Or, if you wish to do it in a public space, consider the possibility of it becoming a privately owned property.
Memorial Reef for Cremation
Many people choose to have their ashes mixed with concrete, shaped or moulded into a statue of their choice. The statue is then dropped into and laid to rest on the ocean floor. Specific companies provide this service, but any loved one opting for this option must do so only after thorough consideration.
Viewing or No Viewing
A viewing is an opportunity for your loved ones to view the body one last time before it is buried or cremated. Viewings can take place in the person’s home (if they had passed there), a funeral home, a place of worship, or anywhere you prefer so long as it is in agreement with the owner of a premise. If you choose to donate your body to science and wish to have a viewing, your loved ones may still need to pay for the viewing.
The Last Details
Once you have chosen whether you want a burial, cremation, or donate your body to science, where you would like your remains to rest and whether to have a viewing or not, you can finalise the finer details. These include the types of flowers you might want, any music or visual aids, and where you would like the memorial ceremony.
Refer to the list below and create your list of inclusions to be stored alongside other official documents such as an Advance Care Plan, life insurance, your will, and any final thoughts you would like to include:
- Memorial service location
- Where the remains will be placed
- Type of casket or urn
- Name(s) of those who you wish to make your arrangements
- Open or closed casket for a service
- Clothes, glasses, & jewellery to be worn for a viewing and/or final resting
- Any military preferences for veterans
- Marker/headstone preferences
- Pallbearer suggestions
- Obituary preferences (key points you want addressed in your obituary)
- Post funeral reception preferences
Four Ways You Can Ensure Your Funeral Is Paid For
After planning your funeral, the final step is to ensure that your family and loved ones will not be out of pocket for your funeral expenses. Here are some options you can choose to alleviate this extra stress:
Take Out Life Insurance
Taking out Life Insurance usually offers immediate protection and therefore is a popular first choice for many when taking care of funeral expenses. Different policies will have different offerings, which are usually in line with your age group. Some policies offer complete end-to-end life insurance, whilst others may only offer end of life coverage, which covers funeral arrangement costs.
Useful for the ones who have the discipline to save up for long; if you have been setting aside an amount periodically, you can pay for your funeral outright or leave it with the trusted person who will be responsible for all the arrangements after you are gone. The only downside of this option is that your loved ones may have to cover the remaining costs if you pass away before saving the required amount.
A Pre-Need Policy
Like life insurance, a pre-need policy is an agreement between yourself and your chosen funeral service provider. You agree with the director on the type of funeral you wish to have and then pay it off in instalments. It is important to note that this can sometimes be an expensive option as the funeral services provider may ask that you pay off the total within a specific time frame.
Funds from the Deceased’s Estate
Although this option is available to those with assets, it’s important to note that the probate process can sometimes take months, and liquidating assets can take even more time. In such cases, your loved ones will still be out of pocket by needing to pay for your funeral service upfront. This option should only be used as a last resort.
Put Together a Will or Living Trust
Having a Will or living trust is highly recommended as this is a formal way to address the legal aspects of your death. It is advised you discuss with a Wills and trust attorney and go on their council when determining which one might be best for you.
If you need any assistance in planning your funeral or would like an estimate for the services we provide, contact our team at Fixed Price Cremations.