A Quick Checklist for Preplanning Your Own Funeral Services

Preplanning your own funeral services can ensure that your wishes are followed and that your family doesn't need to worry about the planning after you've passed away. Paying for a funeral in advance can also help you to spend down your assets, if you need to do this to qualify for certain government aid. When you're ready to preplan your own funeral, note a quick checklist of things to include and consider with a funeral director from a service like Chapel of the Holy Family.

1. Location of services

Do you want services at a particular church or synagogue or other religious building, or do you prefer to have your services in a funeral home? Do you only want a graveside service, or would you want a few words spoken at the grave after the actual funeral service? Note that there may be costs involved even if you plan on using a church or other religious building, so you need to include this direction so your wishes are respected and so you can budget accordingly.

2. Nature of services

How do you want your services to be conducted? Do you prefer something very religious and that will include your own religious beliefs, or are you an atheist who wants to avoid having religion mentioned during your funeral talk? Are there certain life events you want mentioned during your services, or do you prefer a short discourse that only mentions highlights of your life? In some cases you may want to write out an outline of the services and then discuss this with a funeral director or your clergyperson, and get their feedback as to how your services will be handled and what they might suggest to include or remove from the discourse. 

3. Burial or cremation

Do you want to be buried or cremated? If you want to be buried, what type of burial do you prefer? This means the type of casket you want and cemetery you've chosen, or if you want a burial at sea or other location. Many today are opting for what is called a natural burial, which includes a grass casket or simple body wrap, as these break down and decay more easily and don't release toxins into the ground as they do. 

If you prefer to be cremated, where will your ashes be stored? Will you release these to a family member or have them stored in a columbarium, which is a type of building that holds such ashes? Do you want your ashes released somewhere in particular? Note all these details in your checklist.