7 Funeral Pre-Planning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Of all the things to plan, a funeral isn’t an easy one; especially when you are pre-planning your own funeral. When you plan a wedding, everyone you meet is quick to voice their opinion, give tips, and tell you their wedding horror stories. However, if you bring up funeral planning, people will usually go hush-hush and change the subject as quickly as possible. This makes it hard to get tips and advice for funeral pre-planning. 

Unlike weddings, you won’t need to worry about anyone getting cold feet, the cake falling over, or an upstaging proposal. But there are some common mistakes that many people make when they pre-plan their funeral. Here are 7 common mistakes and tips for how you can avoid them. 

1) Not Funeral Pre-Planning at All

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, 62.5% of Americans agree that it is important to share their wishes with family members. However, only 21.4% actually end up doing so. For that other 78.6%, their family members get left in a bind when the time comes. It can be very painful to pick out a funeral in the days after a loss. 

Funeral pre-planning can help you save your family members from that pain and make their grieving process easier. When you pre-plan your funeral and pre-purchase a casket, you can take care of everything ahead of time. This will allow your family members to focus on caring for themselves and adjusting to the loss. 

The term “pre-planning” can refer to a variety of activities when it comes to funerals. Many people interpret this term to mean that they should tell people whether they want to be buried or cremated. Funeral pre-planning goes far beyond that.

It includes: 

  • Pre-purchasing a casket
  • Leaving behind a detailed record of your wishes 
  • Making arrangements with a funeral home and cemetery
  • Leaving behind a fund to pay for services 
  • Completing a written will 
  • Making plans to personalize your funeral 

The most common funeral planning mistake is to not pre-plan at all. Even if you do only the basics, it will greatly help your family cope when the time comes. 

2) Not Getting Enough Information About Funeral Pre-Planning

Many people think that their options are limited to only burial or cremation. However, you have so many more options for how you would like to depart this earth. For example, in Crestone, Colorado residents may choose to be cremated in an open air pyre. Washington also recently passed a law to legalize body composting as a sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to burial and cremation. 

While it is still illegal to have a Viking-style funeral, you have more options than you think. Everything is getting less and less traditional, so maybe your funeral should be too. If you want to be buried or cremated, there are many ways to be more environmentally friendly. For example, green burial and biodegradable urns. 

person with a blank list writing with a red marker | Funeral Pre-Planning | Overnight Caskets

Before you commit to something for your funeral, explore your options first. Some green solutions are a little more pricey or unavailable in your state. If you do opt for a traditional burial, do it because it makes you feel calm and at peace. Don’t do it just because that’s how it’s always been done. 

3) Making Decision Solely Based on Price

Everyone wants to get a good deal and to save money. However, if you picked out everything based on the price alone, you would end up with a lot of extra cash and a lot of appliances that break after one use. This is the case when it comes to pre-purchasing a casket as well. Think of it like a car: you may not have needed those heated seats, but paying a little extra for them was so worth it. Or when you sprung for a little more storage on your new laptop and it made all the difference. Sometimes it is more than worth it to pay for some extra features because it will make you happy and will come in useful. 

When it comes to caskets, Overnight Caskets makes it easy by offering a wide selection of high-quality caskets for affordable prices. When you buy a casket online from Overnight Caskets, you are already saving several thousand dollars over what the same casket would have cost you at a funeral home. But even when you are buying a casket online, you shouldn’t only decide by the price. 

For example, our most affordable caskets are metal ones that come in silver, white, and blue for around $850. If you wanted a metal casket and like the color blue, then that works out just fine. A casket may be affordable, but it may not be you. A casket is only one part of the service; however, it is what will protect you from the elements and be part of the last memory that your loved ones will have of you. It is like with the heated seats, sometimes it is worth it to pay for some extras in order to have something that you like. 

Many customers like to express their interests or their religion on their casket with icons on the interior. The White Cross Lord’s Prayer Casket and Praying Hands Spruce Casket are especially popular for people who would like to express their faith. Similarly, those who appreciate quality craftsmanship or work with wood themselves might be drawn to one of our solid wood caskets

The key is to remember that life isn’t always about money. Sometimes it is worth it to pay a little more and get something that is truly you. 

4) Spending Too Much Money For No Reason

While it is worth spending a little bit more to get something that you really like and that fits you, it is a common mistake to go about funeral pre-planning by simply throwing money at things. If you go to a funeral home to pre-plan for services, the funeral director will likely try to sell you on various packages and deals. The Platinum Package may sound fancy and you may tell yourself “why not? It’s my funeral.” However, you should also ask yourself if you actually need all the things in that package. 

The trick is to resist the allure of packages, special sales, and deals. Instead, only pay for what you want and need. So if it is important to you to have the biggest, most impressive gravemarker in the entire cemetery, then you do that. But if you would prefer something small and quaint, don’t let yourself be upsold. 

Another way to avoid this pitfall is to buy a casket online rather than from a funeral home. Because funeral homes have so much overhead, they heavily markup their prices to turn a profit. This means that a casket that costs $1,000 at Overnight Caskets could cost as much as five times that amount. There is no reason to pay more for the same casket. Under the FTC Funeral Rule, funeral homes must accept all items that you purchase from outside vendors. This can cut the cost of your funeral in half, then you can use the money you saved to go on a mini vacation. 

5) Not Balancing Everyone’s Needs

When you plan a wedding, you can turn down everyone else’s advice because it is your special day and no one else’s. However, funerals are for the benefit of the living as well. They provide an opportunity to say goodbye, to adjust to the loss, and to grieve together. 

This doesn’t mean that your funeral shouldn’t be all about you, it just means that you should consider the needs of others when you are funeral pre-planning. 

For example, many people insist that they don’t want anything fancy. They claim that they just want to be sent to the crematorium quickly so the whole deal can be over with. Because it is what they want, their family members go along with it and don’t hold a funeral. Instead, the cremains get tucked away in someone’s closet. The deceased’s wishes were met; however, everyone else will be upset because they feel as though they didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. The wound will still feel raw and it will be difficult to cope with everyday changes after the loss. 

Family in black clothing holding flowers | Funeral Pre-Planning | Overnight Caskets

The solution would be to request a simple funeral with no frills. As the pre-planner, you don’t have to go overboard, but you should leave the door open for your family members to grieve how they need to grieve. 

One way to ensure that others’ needs are being met is to include your friends and family members in the process as you are funeral pre-planning. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be a great way to address any concerns and become closer. 

6) Forgetting To Make Arrangements in One Area or Another

Everyone forgets things sometimes. When it comes to funerals, many people don’t know the first thing about how to plan a funeral. Unlike with weddings, you can’t exactly hop on Pinterest and find a hundred thousand photos of “inspo.” A common mistake is that people will remember to pre-purchase a casket but forget about making arrangements with a cemetery. Others might be completely on top of planning the music, flowers, speakers, and picking out a tombstone but completely forget to purchase a casket. 

The best way to avoid this is to take your time when you funeral pre-plan. This will give you time to catch things that you may have forgotten and to change your mind. It can also help to read more about the pre-planning process to get ideas and to learn the lingo

As with weddings, it may also be a good idea to put together a planning binder or even a Pinterest board. That way, you can check off things as you go, keep notes on what needs to be done, and keep all your receipts in one place. 

In general, it may help to group your funeral plans into a few different categories: 

  1. Necessary items: casket, vault, and marker. 
  2. Services: embalming, dressing, makeup, and transportation. 
  3. Location: Cemetery plot and venue for the service. 
  4. The Ceremony: speakers, flowers, presider, and pallbearers. 
  5. Guests: invitations and notifications 
  6. Legacy: obituary, memorials, and your will. 
row of paper cut out people | Funeral Pre-Planning | Overnight Caskets

7) Failing to Communicate Your Wishes 

One of the most common mistakes that people make when they are pre-planning their funeral is failing to notify the people in their lives about their decisions. At the very least, it is incredibly important that you let your family know the basics of what you want for your funeral. For example, whether you want to be buried or cremated. For veterans and people who may be part of multiple religions, you should let your loved ones know what practices, traditions, and ceremonial activities you want performed at your funeral. 

When you pre-purchase a casket and pre-pay for funeral expenses, you will be given a receipt. Make sure that your family members know where this paperwork is kept. If you don’t tell people that you already purchased a casket and pre-paid for services, there is the risk that your family will take you to a different funeral home and pay for the same services out of pocket. 

Communication is especially important when you pre-purchase a casket from Overnight Caskets. How it works is that you select a casket now, add it to your cart, and pay for it now. Not only will that lock in a price before inflation and save you money, it also guarantees that you will receive that casket. In the meantime, we will keep your casket on reserve until the time comes. When the casket is needed, someone will need to contact Overnight Caskets and we will ship the casket to your home or directly to the funeral home. 

The best way to make your funeral go smoothly is to talk through your wishes with the people in your life and tell them where you keep your important documents. This may not be an easy conversation, but it will save everyone from a lot of stress and frustration down the line. 

If you have any questions, please contact Overnight Caskets via email, phone, or chatbot. If you are ready to start the funeral pre-planning process, start by browsing our catalog of high-quality, affordable caskets. 

1 thought on “7 Funeral Pre-Planning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them”

  1. Thanks for the tips to avoid pre-planning funeral mistakes. My uncle just passed away and we need to plan his funeral. I’ll find a funeral home that can help accommodate us.


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