Funerals: To Pre-Plan or Not to Pre-Plan

by Susan Williams

Is it better for your family if you pre-plan your funeral? What about your finances? Here are 3 good reasons to pre-plan and 2 not to pre-plan your own funeral.

A while back, BoomingEncore.com published a post about how Baby Boomers are changing the funeral landscape by planning their own funerals. Similar to disrupting traditional approaches in how they lived their lives, they are now mapping new ways in how they leave this world as well.

It made me start to wonder about the whole idea of pre-planning your funeral and what were some of the benefits of doing this. I discovered (and this probably isn’t that big of a shocker) that most funeral service providers promote the idea of pre-planning your funeral. Here are some of their top reasons:

1. It’s easier on your loved ones.

When someone dies, there normally is a great deal of grief. The planning of a funeral during this time of grief can make it even more difficult to cope.

2. You can have input into your final farewell.

By pre-planning your funeral, you can help take some of the guess work for your family as to how you would like to be remembered. From how you would like your remains handled to the actual type of service you would like are all things that you can plan in advance.

3. It’s financially easier for your family.

Most often funeral services are paid for through the deceased person’s estate. However, it takes time for the estate to be settled, so the financial burden needs to be covered upfront. By pre-planning, this is not a cost that needs to be managed by the family as it’s already taken care of.

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However, there are also some downsides to consider as well:

1. Things can change.

Life is not always predictable. For example, I met one couple at a funeral once that was arguing about their own funeral arrangements. As it turned out, the gentleman had pre-planned his funeral and had purchased a shared plot with his first wife who had unfortunately died. He had since remarried and his second wife was now wondering how she now fit into the picture.

When he had made his initial funeral arrangements, the idea of getting married a second time was not at all in his plans. This shows you that your life may not always go as you had planned it.

2. How you pre-pay

If you are pre-planning, you need to be careful how much money is paid out in advance and to whom it is paid. If it’s handed over to a funeral service provider, the services have yet to be delivered and there could be some risk. Will they still be in business? Will they have mismanaged the money? Will you actually get what you paid for? These are just some things to be considered.

Whether you decide to pre-plan or not pre-plan, this is really a personal decision. Personally I think it’s best to think about our loved ones and what would they want. They will be the ones at the end of the day having to cope with the loss and then dealing with what comes next. After all, we won’t be here.

Reviewed July 2019

About the Author

Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore, a website and social media network dedicated to providing information and inspiration to help Baby Boomers create and live their very best encore.

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