Planning our own funeral is something most of us would rather not think about.
Some are afraid to confront their own mortality, believe pre-planning is only for the elderly, or that pre-planning a funeral is tempting fate. Only about 30% of Canadians have pre-planned their funeral. Many people will create a will and an estate plan, but they don’t pre-plan their funeral.
Danielle York, Funeral Director at Fawcett Funeral Home in Collingwood says, “Pre-planning one’s funeral can be a thoughtful and responsible way to address the inevitable and alleviate stress on loved ones while they are grieving. We want people to know that pre-planning is simple, and that people should at least have a conversation about the basics.” There are many benefits to pre-planning a funeral.
Alleviating stress on family
The death of a loved one is an emotionally difficult experience and the burden of making funeral arrangements can intensify the grief. Funeral pre-planning allows individuals to make crucial decisions in advance. York says, “If you’ve ever had to make funeral arrangements, there is shock, even though the death may have been expected. We often see loved ones come in to make funeral arrangements and they’re lost because they’re grieving. They have no idea which direction to go.”
Grieving family members will often make decisions based solely on emotion. They may not want a funeral and later regret that decision. Or they may go overboard and arrange visitation or a funeral service that is not right for the family or the deceased. York says, “We never want people to feel that way. A funeral shouldn’t be a decision that you feel is something that you have to do.”
Ensuring wishes are carried out
Detailing preferences for cremation or burial and type of service ahead of time gives individuals an opportunity to communicate their desires, allowing them to tailor the details to reflect their values, beliefs, and personal styles. Family members may take some comfort in knowing that they’re honouring their loved ones in a way that aligns with their wishes.
Respectfully carrying out the deceased’s final wishes gives some comfort to family members. It also alleviates potential conflict because loved ones won’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing. Danielle York stresses, “If the deceased’s wishes are made known while they’re alive, they will receive a funeral that reflects who they are and does not put pressure on others to make the decision.”
Pre-planning gives loved ones some direction and take much of the decision-making out of their hands. York adds, “The family will still meet with the funeral home, but they won’t be asking as many questions as we would if the funeral was not pre-planned.”
With pre-planning there is no cost or obligation. Pre-planning involves contacting a funeral home and recording your wishes in writing. Individuals can pre-pay for the funeral services, but it’s not required. There are advantages to paying ahead of time. With a pre-paid contract, the money goes into a trust account where it’s guaranteed. Pre-paying protects the family from inflation, and they pay nothing out of pocket.
The financial aspect of funeral planning is an extra burden for families that they don’t need in their time of grief. It’s often a significant concern for families because they believe a funeral is expensive, but Danielle York says that is not necessarily the case. “There are many funeral service options that are not as expensive as many people think.”
Pre-planning is easy
Write out your funeral plan with as many details as possible. The funeral home will ask for additional information. York says, “We then speak specifically about what your wishes are, whether it’s burial, cremation, visitation, or a funeral service, and other details. A file is created and kept at the funeral home until time of death, when we’re contacted by the family members. If you have started a prearrangement with a funeral home and have moved or would like to change to another location, you can request the information be transferred to the funeral home of your choice.”
Pre-planning a funeral is a compassionate and responsible approach to addressing the inevitable aspects of life. Funeral pre-planning can be a gift to yourself and your loved ones, giving you a sense of control, peace of mind, and a legacy of thoughtful consideration for the future.
You can pre-arrange your funeral using Fawcett Funeral Home’s secure PreArrange Online network or visit them online here. You can also contact Fawcett Funeral Home at (705) 445-2651 to speak to a representative.