As many turn their attention away from the Queen of England’s funeral, it bring to mind: what type of ceremony do you want to have?

Funerals are for your loved ones. How do you want them to gather? While you can’t predict what people will say, the point is to give people a place and time to share their stories, memories and share their grief. What were your favorite things to do? How did you help others? Who were you outside of work?

Today, I see many families adjusting how they plan for their funerals. In some cases, they don’t. Some won’t have a faith based service since they cannot play a favorite song during the ceremony. Others have a disagreement about what clothes their Mom may be buried in. One thing few consider is being overcharged due to lack of planning. One family shared with me that they bought a $350 urn, only to find it had a price tag on the bottom for $29.99 from Pier One Imports.

Here are some options:

Write your wishes down.
Create the funeral you want. If the topic is too difficult to consider, think of your service as a going away party.

Set aside the money (or pre-pay) for your funeral.
Direct cremations can be done for under $1000. Full casket funerals with all the bells and whistles can cost over $50,000. I ask my clients to set aside the money. Many families share they appreciated having their loved one doing the planning so they could follow their wishes. I had a client who had a parent who wanted to be buried, but they couldn’t afford it. The family chose cremation as a way to save costs. My client felt like she let her parent down and couldn’t follow their wishes.

If you are a Veteran, get the paperwork done with the Veterans Administration in advance. All costs are covered with your benefits for you and your spouse. If you want to be buried at the Arlington or your State’s cemetery, let the VA know your wishes. If you choose to be buried at sea, your family will need to be prepared to wait as this honor can be done when the Navy can accommodate your request. If you want to be buried with family, your ability to have full honors may be limited.

The final thing to consider: your family will probably replicate what you do. Do you attend others’ funerals or do you avoid them? What lessons do you want want your loved ones to remember or family traditions passed on? Will this be a time of reconciliation or destruction of family values? Will you share your spiritual, traditional, or cultural beliefs?

Make sure to download Last Life Lesson to learn about End of Life planning. Also visit our Resources page to access the Funeral Planning Guide This worksheet will give you an idea of how much your ideal funeral will cost. Note, these costs were gathered about a year ago and may not reflect funeral and burial costs in your community. Contact us if you have any questions about how to talk with your parents about planning their funeral or you want help with creating your own.

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