Most people wish to think about funerals, and all things related to death, as little as possible. While that’s understandable, it’s not very practical. Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, there’s a 100% incidence of death. It’s foolish to ignore something that is guaranteed to happen.

So, for those acknowledging the inevitability, what is there to do about it anyway? Many find that advance planning of final needs gives them peace of mind, allowing them to get rid of that nagging thought, much like planning for college or saving for a wedding. Advance planning of final needs can take several forms.

At its simplest, advance planning means acknowledging that, some day in the future, death will occur and something must be done. A simple funeral plan might include defining one’s choice for cremation or burial, a military funeral or a religious funeral, or a wake and funeral versus a memorial service.

A more in-depth funeral plan includes a choice of celebrant and eulogizer, names of pallbearers, preferred funeral readings, and choice of funeral music. Considering these details in advance allows you to define your preferences, and, as importantly, communicate them to your family. It’s critically important that families understand each other’s preferences for final needs both to honor wishes and to avoid or reduce stress and conflict. (more…)