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5 Ways to Prepare for Your Own Funeral

If you've ever had to plan a loved one's funeral, you know how hard it can be. Funeral planning is an emotional time as family and friends grieve the death of a loved one. This grief makes funeral planning a complicated situation.

You can avoid the stress of funeral planning in the future if you take the time now to plan your funeral. Arrange the details of your funeral so everything can go smoothly when the time comes. Read on to learn how you can make your funeral as easy and personal as possible.

1. Funeral Checklist

When you organize your funeral, you want to make sure that you are remembered in a meaningful way. Consider the following as you make your funeral arrangements:

  • Type of viewing. How do you want your loved ones to pay their last respects? A viewing (also known as a wake) is an opportunity before the funeral for family and friends to gather together and view your body before the formal funeral services start.
  • Location of funeral services. You can choose to have your funeral in your hometown, or if you have moved away, it can be in your current home.
  • People you want at your service. Do you want your funeral service to be just for close family and friends? Or do you want it to open to anyone who wants to come?
  • Master of ceremonies. This person will set the tone of your ceremony and can help conduct your funeral in a manner that fits your funeral requests.
  • Speakers at your ceremony. These may include certain family members, close friends, or other people who've had a major influence in your life.
  • Open or closed casket. The decision to have an open or closed casket is a personal decision. Think about what would be most appropriate for you and your family.
  • Casket dressing. Consider which clothes you would like to buried in. You can be dressed in a new suit or wear your favorite outfit.
  • Pallbearers. Not every funeral service has pallbearers. But if you would like to have pallbearers at your service, think of who you like to carry your casket.
  • Personal touches. If you would like special music played, readings, refreshments, or any other special details, be sure to include those in your funeral arrangements too.

Use this checklist as a guide to help you create a beautiful, personal funeral service. When you write out your funeral requests, make sure they are clearly articulated to avoid any confusion.

2. Casket and Vault Selection

The casket is often the most expensive part of a funeral service. The three main choices for caskets are cardboard, metal, and wood. Caskets also range anywhere from $350 to over $10,000 dollars. Visit a few funeral homes to find a casket that fits your needs, and relieve this difficult decision from your loved ones.

You are not required by law to have a grave liner or vault, but many cemeteries require them. A vault or liner is designed to help preserve the cemetery grounds and stop the grave from sinking. Your casket will deteriorate over time, but a vault or a liner will keep the grave from collapsing.

3. Cemetery Costs

In addition to your casket and your other funeral costs, you have to pay a cemetery for a burial plot. Burial plots can cost as much as $4,000 dollars for grave digging and vault preparation. Your cemetery will probably also charge you for a headstone placement or grave marker.

These cemetery costs are important to remember when you make your funeral arrangements.

4. Headstone or Grave Marker

A headstone is one of the last, memorable details of your life. It marks where your body will rest, and written on it is an epitaph that you will be remembered by. Before you choose a headstone, make sure you know your cemetery's regulations on headstones. Cemeteries often have requirements on the size, material, and type of headstone that can be placed above a grave.

Choose a headstone or grave marker that fits within your cemetery's regulations and creates a beautiful resting place for people to pay their respects.

5. Memorial Service

After your plan your funeral, plan a memorial service. A memorial service can help your loved ones remember you and your life after your funeral. Additionally, these gatherings can help loved ones through the grieving process. Whether it be a simple gathering or sharing one of your favorite meals, your memorial service is a time to remember and celebrate the life you lived.

Everyone deals with death differently. When death is on the horizon, make your funeral symbolic of the life you led. Plan how you would like to be remembered and keep this plan somewhere where your loved ones will find it. Make arrangements for your funeral with casket companies, funeral homes, and family members. When you have made your final preparations, you can rest easy knowing that this plan will make a trying situation less stressful for those you leave behind.

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