How old are you today? That is precisely the age you should consider starting to plan your own funeral. “But I’m 36 and healthy as a horse!” Great! If your family knows your end-of-life wishes today, and a piano falls on your head tomorrow, you’ll save them a lot of stress and worry.
Not to make light of death and dying, but we’re in a new age of death positivity that grows daily. That means accepting it, talking about it and looking ahead (not forward) to it. Funeral pre-planning does not have to be sad or morbid.
Honestly, planning for a funeral (yours or a family member’s) is one of the most gracious gifts you can give your loved ones. Getting all those details out of the way and known to those who matter becomes one less thing to worry about. Having a plan for the inevitable helps ease the burden your family will feel once you are gone. The decisions will be made, and perhaps the payment plan is already in motion. Folks of all ages begin to ponder planning:
- In your 20s and 30s, you might be newlyweds or have young kids. When thinking about the future of your family – savings and life insurance – making some preliminary end-of-life plans makes sense.
- In your 40s and 50s, your parents begin to show signs of aging and slow a little. Maybe someone you know develops an unexpected, yet serious illness. Or perhaps there’s a death in the family or a death of someone close to you. Death or dying is on your mind and you want to make sure your funeral or memorial is exactly how you want.
- In your 60s, you may be meeting with a financial planner or making life insurance arrangements as part of your retirement planning. (Some folks may not think far ahead before they get close to retirement age, and others who are ahead of the game may make updates or refinements to existing life insurance plans.) Moving from retirement planning to retirement itself is another time when end-of-life planning makes sense.
Our dollars are precious, and we all love to save money where we can. We also don’t like the feeling of missing out on a deal. Whether you consider a traditional casket burial, cremation, green burial or body donation, a funeral director shares exactly what the current costs are and how you can save money by making arrangements and locking in prices now. (The transparency of end-of-life cost options is the law.) Another aspect to consider by making plans and making payment arrangements now is that you shelter these future financial obligations from your loved ones.
Here’s a quick tale about funeral pre-planning a colleague recently shared:
“When my father-in-law turned 94, he said, ‘I guess we better get these funeral details down, because I’ve got stuff to do.’ The ‘stuff’ was he needed to buy two pairs of running shoes because he intended to wear a pair out. He did. He died when he was 100, and we knew exactly how he wanted to go out.”
You don’t have to be 94 to begin thinking about what you want – especially with a wider range of funeral and service options growing in popularity. There are many things to consider and decisions to make when it comes to end-of-life plans for yourself or a loved one. The right decisions are the ones that are going to give peace of mind during your life and a respectful closure after you’ve passed.
Remember, not only will dostadning help your family members avoid a challenging task, you can also make sure the wishes for what happens to your precious belongings come true. Your loved ones will likely have a lengthy checklist to follow once you pass, but by performing the art of death cleaning, you are easing some of that burden.