Even though 62.5% of people feel preplanning is important, only 21.4% have done so, per NFDA. Death is inevitable, so no one can ignore the topic. However, people may not know where to start when it comes to funeral planning. It also may be a difficult subject for them to start actively thinking and talking about.
Your funeral home’s staff can help give them some guidance on the dos and don’ts of funeral planning. To start, below are five mistakes to avoid.
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1. Not Preplanning at All
Not doing any preplanning is, by far, the biggest mistake. There are many reasons that people may choose to not preplan. They may think that they’re too young to think about it or that it’s too sad to think about. Or they simply may have never thought about funeral planning. Whatever the case, your funeral home can help inform families of the benefits of funeral planning.
One major benefit is that it prevents the burden from being put on family members who should be grieving. If there’s little to no funeral planning done, it’s very stressful for those who need to plan it. They now have a short time frame, inability to ask the deceased their opinions, and it’s taxing on their wellbeing. They’re already grieving a loss and possibly still coming to terms with it, so adding funeral planning doesn’t help. It will help ease everyone’s minds if there’s a plan that reflects the person’s life.
2. Not Considering All Your Options
Make sure you’re aware of and consider all your options while preplanning. There are more options out there than just direct cremation and traditional burial. Despite popular belief, you can have a visitation and funeral service if you choose cremation. It can be either with the body present before the cremation occurs or after the cremation with the urn.
If you want to be cremated, you also can choose to have an ash scattering releasing ceremony. Your ashes can be spread somewhere special while you release butterflies, biodegradable balloons, or another meaningful tribute. And it doesn’t have to be just for those who choose cremation. Even if you choose burial, you can have a releasing ceremony to add meaning to the funeral experience.
Or, if you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly option, you can choose a biodegradable casket or urn. There are even biodegradable urns that turn into a tree. There are many options, so you can find the best option for you.
3. Settling on Funeral Plans
Don’t ever settle on your funeral plans. Often people may opt for direct cremation simply because they’re tight on funds. They may try to convince their loved ones that this is what they want even though it’s not. Or maybe the thought of preplanning is overwhelming, so they just choose an option to check it off their to-do list.
But this isn’t the approach you should take to funeral planning. You should put some thought into it because it should be personalized and tell your life story. Even if you’re tight on funds, there are resources out there to help families create personalized funerals. Many funeral homes offer life insurance assignment, crowdfunding, financing, and other payment options directly on their website. This way, families don’t have to worry about leaving a financial burden on their loved ones.
4. Not Balancing Everyone’s Needs
Another mistake is either only thinking of yourself or only thinking of others. There needs to be a balance of everyone’s wants and needs when funeral planning. The funeral should reflect how you want to be remembered — but you also should remember that the service also is for those who are grieving the loss. Consider how your funeral can best provide them with what they need to heal, grieve, and honor your life.
To do this, it’s best to have a discussion with your loved ones. Families can start the preplanning conversation through the Have the Talk of a Lifetime cards, creating Pinterest funeral boards, making ICE books, or simply discussing the topic over dinner.
5. Not Asking for Help When You Need It
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when funeral planning. Funeral directors are experts in the funeral profession and can help you create your desired funeral experience. By sharing your life story and funeral wishes with them, they can help you craft and preplan a funeral service. Together, you can create a funeral that honors your life and meets and exceeds everyone’s wants and needs.