LIFE LETTER MATURE
For most of us, death and funeral planning is not high on our list of daily thoughts. When someone dies, those left behind are faced with dozens of decisions about the funeral. To make matters worse, these decisions may be made quickly while under great emotional strain. Following is a list of things to consider to make the process easier:
Talk about it - Ignoring something won't make it go away. Discuss with all your loved ones what you would like to happen when you die and also find out what they want done when they die. Let them know if you would like burial, cremation, or donation to science. Write your wishes down and make copies.
Do some advance planning - A growing number of people are pre-planning their own funerals to relieve their families of the burden. This allows time for comparison shopping; it allows you to make rational and logical decisions at an unemotional time; and, it can provide peace of mind knowing that your wishes are known.
Choose a funeral provider - While it is not a legal requirement to use a funeral home, very few would be up to the task after the death of a loved one of doing it themselves. There may be differences in services and prices between funeral providers, so get printed lists. You can provide your own casket or urn. Some choose a provider because of proximity to home or past dealings.
Deal with religious traditions - Find out if the funeral provider can accommodate any religious traditions that are important to you. For example, some traditions call for helping with the bathing and dressing of the deceased. It's best to deal with something like this beforehand rather than having a request turned down at an inconvenient time.
Type of funeral - Decide if you want the full "traditional" funeral service or an alternative. For example, Ralph and Martha did not want the whole viewing and visitation, formal service, hearse to the cemetery and burial. Instead, they arranged for a simple direct burial with a memorial service to follow a few weeks later. This can allow time for those from out of town to make unhurried travel arrangements. The same process could be used if they prefer cremation.
Payment - The reality is that funerals come with a cost. The bill will either have to be settled at the time the funeral is completed or can be paid in advance. Pre-paying for a funeral is becoming more popular. This can come in the form of agreeing on a guaranteed price and paying that amount into a trust, or through the use of a form of life insurance called funeral insurance. Of course a life insurance policy already in place can be used.
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