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Sallie Mullins Thompson, CPA PLLC

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Tips for Pre-Planning Your Own Funeral

| December 01, 2019

Photo via Unsplash

Pre-planning your funeral is probably not on your immediate to-do list, especially if you’re young and healthy. However, no one can predict the future! By planning ahead, you can prevent the burden of burial and funeral planning from falling on your grieving loved ones when you pass away. Believe it or not, there are several things you can do right now to prepare.  Below are a few basic steps to get you started.

Cover Your Final Expenses

Dying is expensive. Some important funeral costs to plan for include the casket, embalming, headstone, and funeral flowers. Even if you decide to forgo the funeral, a simple cremation alone can cost thousands of dollars. According to Beyond the Dash, funeral expenses are typically paid using the deceased person’s assets, ultimately reducing the remaining assets that are available to be distributed among your loved ones. If your assets won’t cover your funeral costs, the responsibility will fall on your next of kin—likely your spouse or child.


The right insurance policy can cover all of your funeral expenses, so your family won’t be left paying these costs out of pocket. For example, final expense insurance—also called burial or funeral insurance—is designed to cover any expenses that you leave behind. This includes everything from funeral costs to medical bills and personal loans. Final expense life insurance does not expire like term life insurance, so your beneficiaries will get a death benefit as long as you continue to pay your insurance premiums. If you’re considering a policy, check out different companies that specialize in final expense insurance.


Make Burial Arrangements

Next, you’ll have to decide if you want to be cremated or buried. Cremation is typically cheaper than a burial, which may be one reason why cremations are on the rise in the United States. You can also opt for an eco-friendly burial, or choose to donate your body to science. If you are interested in a traditional burial, you’ll have to find a cemetery. Come up with a general idea of what you’re looking for and visit cemeteries in person to make sure they’re well maintained. According to, all cemeteries have their own rules regarding how burials should take place and the types of headstones allowed. Make sure the cemetery you choose will be able to accommodate your wishes.


Choose a Funeral Type

There are also various types of funerals that you can choose from. For example, a full-service burial includes a visitation, funeral ceremony, and a burial. On the other hand, a direct burial does not involve a formal ceremony, and a memorial service typically occurs after the burial has taken place. You can also choose a graveside service in which the ceremony is held at the burial site. This is also a good time to personalize your funeral. Make a list of guests you want invited, dedicate people to be pallbearers, and select the songs or readings you would like performed at the ceremony.


Share Your Wishes with Your Family 

Talking to your family members about your death can be hard, to say the least. However, this is an extremely important conversation to have. It would be much more difficult for your family members to discuss these topics with a funeral director after you have passed. Keep in mind that everything you decide now will reduce the number of tricky decisions your loved ones will have to make in your absence. To ensure that your wishes are followed, write them down in a document separate from your will, and let your family members know where to find this.


It can be uncomfortable to make these kinds of decisions for yourself. While it’s easy to put off death planning, there is no better time to tackle your funeral arrangements than the present. Don't feel like you have to plan your funeral down to the nitty-gritty details. The most important thing is to let your family know your wishes and set up a financial plan to cover your end-of-life expenses.

This article was submitted for my website by Sara Bailey. Please read Sara’s bio below: 

When Sara lost her husband, she quickly learned there is no handbook for those who have lost a partner and suddenly find themselves raising children on their own. However, Sara also learned there is a community of people with similar experiences, using all their might to put one foot in front of the other every day — even when it seems impossible. She created her website, for others who are in the same situation she is in.