Most of us have never had to plan a funeral. This fact makes planning a difficult process when everyone is under stress and grieving a loss. That is why it’s a good idea to plan ahead of time – when you can consult with a funeral professional who can educate you on all the options available to you.
Once you’ve decided to plan ahead, you’ll want to avoid the most common pitfalls and mistakes people make. Here are 5 of the most common mistakes to avoid as you put together a funeral plan.
Mistake #1 - Making a decision based solely on price
Price is important, but the old adage "you get what you pay for," is also true. When you are comparing packages, make sure that you know what’s included and what’s not. In other words, make sure you are comparing apples to apples as you search for the best value. Understand that cemetery costs and third-party costs like flowers, obituaries, and police escorts are often not included in a funeral home's package pricing. Also, remember that the best offer should include a reasonably-priced funeral in addition to caring, knowledgeable staff.
Mistake #2 – Making a decision without enough information
Preplanning doesn’t have to be complicated. But it always helps to get guidance if you need it. Choosing a reputable funeral home and asking questions along the way is very important. By getting all your questions answered, you can have confidence that you’ve made the best choices for your particular needs.
Mistake #3 – Forgetting to balance everyone’s needs
A funeral service is more for the survivors than for the one who has died. It’s a time to reflect, to remember, to honor, to grieve, and to say goodbye. For this reason, when possible, it’s important to seriously consider what kind of funeral service to plan. While the wishes of the deceased are important, it is crucial to take the needs of family and friends into account as well. When only one group is considered, a funeral service may feel lacking rather than provide a meaningful and healing experience.
Mistake #4 – Not having a plan for payment
Keep in mind that funeral expenses rise at a relatively high rate. The cost of steel, materials, energy, and wages contribute to a steady rise in costs over the years. By paying for a funeral in advance, you can sometimes reduce the cost of the funeral and alleviate the stress of paying for a funeral at a time of loss and emotional stress.
Mistake #5 – Taking care of cemetery needs but not funeral service needs
Purchasing a plot or columbarium niche at the cemetery is just one aspect of the preplanning process. Oftentimes, separate owners run the cemetery and the funeral home. This means that you can purchase space in a cemetery but have nothing planned for the funeral service. A funeral home will help you plan a personalized funeral service and select the merchandise (casket, urn, etc.) necessary to complete your final wishes. When the time comes, the funeral home will work in concert with the cemetery to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
* To view the full article, go to Funeral Basics.