How Best to Plan a Funeral

How best to Plan a Funeral Celebration.

Firstly, what is the point of a funeral?

In my mind it, is threefold fold:

a)     To allow family and friends a chance to say goodbye and to offer support to each other.  And of course to catch up with relatives you haven’t seen for years.

b)    To celebrate the life of the person who has died.

c)     To do what you can to make everyone leave feeling positive.

Planning a funeral can be an emotional process and it is often controversial as different people feel only they know the deceased’s wishes.   People can get quite angry, and if there are lots of views it just is not possible to satisfy everyone.

It is about happy memories, remembering the things they loved and enjoyed, the times they shared with friends and family.   The best way to remember the deceased is to think of them as in life. Why be the same as every other funeral?  If they loved skiing, why not make skiing clothes optional?   If it was opera or bingo then the options are there for a little specific remembrance.

Why not find some small keepsakes from among their possessions and give each person a remembrance? Better yet, earmark them during life and pop them in a special labelled box!

There are legal issues too.

1.                   Plan Your Own Funeral

That is the best approach – take the responsibility and arguments out of the hands of those left behind and write out what you want.

If you know that your time is close, then why not work with people to make sure things are done as you would wish, and those family and friends who might not otherwise even find out are invited.

The issue of notifying people of your death is also one best tackled in advance.  It is distressing to receive letters and bills addressed to a loved one who has died.  An up to date list of those to notify will ease the problem.

Planning ahead is best, as it is far harder to make wise decisions when you are grieving over the death of a loved one.

2.                   Plan Your Funeral: Cover the Cost

A prepaid funeral plan can take the burden and worry of the cost of the funeral away from those left behind.  With funeral inflation running at many times the interest rates offered by deposit account, a prepaid funeral plan could be considered an excellent investment – in many respects.

Should you have enough money in your bank account at the date of your death, then the bank will often consider paying the undertaker direct.  But they will NOT refund payments made by your executors or other persons.   They can’t be repaid until probate has been granted.  So a prepaid funeral plan is far sounder advice.

3.                   Make Your Funeral Wishes Known

If you’re planning your own, talk with your family about your funeral wishes to make sure they know what you want. Having a verbal conversation about your wishes will paint a better picture for your loved ones than written requests. But do record your wishes too, and give the relevant folk copies.

Whilst your Last Will may be helpful, funeral plans mentioned in them are only wishes, and are often not seen until too late.

You should also review your Estate Planning (Last Will, Lasting Power of Attorney, Trusts, Inheritance Tax planning.)

Make sure your family know who you executors are, and the executors know where to find your Will.  Your Will should not be easily accessible to folk who might not like the contents.  If your Will can’t be found, then your estate will be dealt with under the Rules of Intestacy.

4.                   Contact Funeral Directors

If there is not a prepaid funeral plan in existence, then the executors should contact several funeral directors to compare prices and available options. But do be prepared for the “upsell” from basic to “gold-plated” coffins and all the other bolt ons some funeral directors will try to add on.  We prefer the smaller, local undertakers, you can find a few local ones by clicking the link above.

5.                   Flowers vs. Donations,

  • Most guests at a funeral will bring flowers or have them sent unless they are told that is not what you would wish. If you would rather your guest give money to a charity in lieu of flowers, you can make that request in the obituary and by word of mouth. Be sure to include instructions on where to send donations.
  • It is especially helpful to have some discussion with the person concerned in advance.r.

6.                    Funeral Planning: Burial or Cremation or ?

  • Burial – Burial requires purchasing a cemetery plot, and usually a grave marker or monument.
  • Cremation – Cremation is a heat process which reduces the remains to ashes. The ashes can be stored in a urn and buried, placed in a niche at a cemetery, kept at home, or scattered. If the wish is for the ashes to be scattered, you should consult with the funeral director about legal restrictions.
  • Other methods – other ways of treating the body of the deceased are becoming more known.
  • Gifting a Body to Medical Science – not always the end of things as sometimes you can end up being responsible for a funeral several years after death – make sure you check first.

7.                   It is the Deceased Persons Funeral.

It is about happy memories, remembering the things they loved and enjoyed, the times they shared with friends and family.   The best way to remember the deceased is to think of him as in life. Why be the same as every other funeral? If they loved skiing, why not make skiing clothes optional?   Why not find some small keepsakes from among their possessions and give each person a remembrance?

If you have any suggestion on how to plan a funeral, please let us know.