Most people have a lot of questions about funerals and pre-planning. It is considered “weird” to talk about one’s own funeral, so there isn’t much information out there about pre-planning. People normally make wedding Pinterest boards years in advance, but no one thinks about funerals much until it is too late.
This is one common question about funeral pre-planning: Is it weird to pre-plan your funeral?
The short answer: no, it isn’t weird.
The long answer: Not only is it not weird to pre-plan your funeral, it’s actually a great idea both for financial and emotional reasons. When you pre-plan your funeral, you can easily personalize it to fit your values and lifestyle. Pre-planning is the only way to ensure that you get what you want when the time comes, whether you opt for burial or cremation.
Another benefit of funeral pre-planning is that it relieves your loved ones of the burden of having to plan and pay for a funeral. After a death in the family, no one is in any position to make smart financial decisions on important purchases. Pre-planning allows you to take care of the arrangements so that they are not a burden to your family members.
What is Funeral Pre-Planning?
When you pre-plan your funeral, you are essentially making all or most of the funeral arrangements yourself, ahead of time. There are many different forms of pre-planning and different degrees to which people prepare.
For example, some people pre-plan by deciding what they want, then putting the money for it aside in a funeral savings account. That way, all their family has to do is withdraw that money and follow the instructions left for them. However, this type of pre-planning can be risky because of inflation. If prices increase, then the money you leave behind may not be enough to cover all of the arrangements. This will force your family members to make up the difference.
The best kind of pre-planning is pre-purchasing your own casket, pre-paying for services, and dictating what you want. When you pre-purchase things like a casket and services, you can lock in a price before inflation, guaranteeing that your family won’t have to pay for the difference.
Other things people plan ahead of time for their funerals include:
- Location of their final resting place.
- What type of service they want (small, large, religious, unique, etc.).
- Who is invited and not invited to the funeral (this is often in the case of family feuds and divorces).
- What outfit they would like to be buried in. (For example, some people want to be buried in their uniform, depending on their profession. Others have strong beliefs about how their hair and makeup should be done).
- Who should give a eulogy and what songs or poems they want played.
- How important pets may be included in the service.
- Who the pallbearers are.
- Location of the service (whether in a place of worship, at home, or at another location).
- Burial or cremation.
What is Pre-Purchasing? Why Should I Pre-Purchase My Own Casket?
Pre-purchasing is when you pay for your own casket ahead of time. When the time comes, it will be ready for you and your family. Traditionally, people have pre-purchased funeral items and service packages from their local funeral homes. However, as more and more funeral homes are going out of business or being bought up by big chains, it is increasingly more risky to pre-plan that way.
On one hand, some people like knowing that their money is going to a local business; they may even know the funeral director and their family. However, it is possible that the local funeral home will go out of business and that you will be out of luck.
The solution to these concerns about pre-purchasing at a local funeral home is to pre-plan online by pre-purchasing with Overnight Caskets. Because Overnight Caskets is an online retailer, we have less overhead than a funeral home. This allow us to charge much less for high-quality caskets. It also means that we are protected from going out of business. Overnight Caskets has been providing people across the US with high-quality caskets for over 7 years, and we are not going anywhere. But if something does happen or you change your mind about pre-purchasing, then you will get all your money back via a check in the mail.
Pre-purchasing a casket when you pre-plan your funeral works like this:
- Browse the online catalog and select a casket that you like.
- Check out the way you would at any other online store.
- Receive your confirmation paperwork and put it with all your other important documents.
- Inform your family members that you pre-purchased your casket and tell them where you keep your confirmation paperwork.
- When the time comes, a family member has to contact Overnight Caskets to have your casket shipped out.
Is It Worth It To Pre-Plan Your Funeral?
Yes, it is totally worth it to pre-plan; however, you won’t see all the benefits right away. In fact, you may never see all the benefits at all, but your family members will be glad that you did.
In general, it is good to be prepared. There’s a saying that the only things in life that are guaranteed are death and taxes. You might not know what will happen next in life, but it is guaranteed that all of us will depart this earth. Given that death is the only thing we can be sure of, it makes sense to plan ahead for it.
There are several big advantages to pre-planning:
- You relieve your loved ones of the burden when the time comes.
- If you don’t have family, you can ensure that you get a respectful send-off.
- Pre-planning allows you to get what you want. For example, a certain type of funeral, a certain location, or observing your religious practices.
- It is more affordable to pre-pay now and lock in a price before inflation, rather than wait until later and pay double or triple.
- If you can afford to pre-pay now, you can save your future self and your family members from going into debt if something unforeseen happens down the line.
Even if you don’t feel prepared to pre-plan everything, it is still a good idea to handle the larger purchases ahead of time. Caskets are one of the big ticket funeral items that families often agonize over. After a death, it usually becomes real for the family when they have to pick out a casket. It’s hard to go buy a box that your loved one will spend the rest of eternity in. This is why it is helpful for you to handle the casket yourself. It gives your family members one less thing to worry about. Plus you’ll be able to buy a high-quality casket for a more affordable price when you pre-purchase it online.
Why Pre-Purchase? Why Can’t I Just Put the Money Aside in a Savings Account For When the Time Comes?
This is a common question. If you feel more comfortable putting the money aside for your family to use at their discretion, than that is your choice. However, certain risks come with that option.
For one, prices of goods and services normally increase every year due to inflation. Remember when you were a kid and a piece of candy used to be 5 cents? A casket that is currently $1,200 could cost $20,000 or more in 10 years. It makes more sense to pay $1,200 now and have a suitable casket guaranteed now rather than have to pay 20x the price in a few years. If you leave money in a savings account now, it probably won’t be enough to cover everything when the time comes. That will force your family members to dig into their savings to make up the difference. They may be in trouble if insurance and other death benefits won’t pay for funeral expenses.
Another risk of maintaining a funeral fund rather than pre-purchasing is that the money can be used for anything. There is no guarantee that it will even go towards the funeral that you want. Families can fight, especially when there is a lot of money involved. There have certainly been cases of someone in the family falling on hard times, so they withdraw grandma’s funeral fund to pay the bills. That, of course, can easily turn into a situation where no one is talking to each other any more. The simplest way to ensure that your money goes towards the funeral you want is to pre-purchase, rather than leaving a funeral fund.
Pre-purchasing is especially recommended for people with families that have gone through divorce, re-marriage, estrangement, or are prone to fighting over money. Locking that money away for funeral expenses only prevents fighting over the money and the arrangements.
What Do I Do If I Want To Have a Unique Funeral?
It used to be that someone could be either buried or cremated. Now, you have many more options than your grandparents did when you go to pre-plan your funeral. From green burial and tree urns to body composing and decomposition shrouds, there are many more things that can be done with you after you buy. These new options are especially popular among Millennials because they are more environmentally friendly than other options.
If you want a unique funeral, then that can be harder to plan for than burial or cremation. Specialty burial items like decomposing burial shrouds and composing caskets have not quite hit the market yet, so you can’t exactly pre-purchase one. Additionally, many of these new innovations are coming from startups. As WeWork has shown us, a brilliant idea that makes the headlines might not be around in a few years.
But if you are determined to go an alternative route, your best option is to contact green burial societies or the companies that make these unique funeral items. They probably won’t let you pre-purchase, but it will be helpful if they are aware that you are interested. You will also need to notify your family members and give them all the information that they need. Some families have a plot or other traditions around funerals, so it may take you some time to convince them of what you want. In this case, it can be beneficial to put money aside to pay for your alternative funeral.
However, in case that company that produces the specialty funeral products goes under or if a new technology doesn’t work out, you may want to consider a backup plan. For example, if burial in a composing casket doesn’t work out, your plan B could be natural burial, cremation, or you would opt for a simple wood body and no vault for a burial that is as natural as possible.
If you have further questions about how to pre-plan your funeral, pre-purchasing in general, or how to buy a casket online, please comment below! You can also contact Overnight Caskets 24/7 via phone or email.
For more resources on pre-planning, check out our archive of articles: