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  • Caroline Hammond

Funeral planning now can save you stress (and other reasons to get started)

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Knowing what you want your funeral to be like is one thing. Planning it and ensuring your wishes are honoured is another. But planning your funeral in advance can save you stress and money while helping ease your family’s burden during a time of grief. Harry Cline explains why, and how you should start thinking about your funeral now.

Invest in Burial Insurance to Cover Funeral Costs

As MoneyHelpler explains, funeral costs are not always affordable, and if your passing is unexpected, your family may suffer financially. Fortunately, there are ways to plan for these costs and make your wishes known.

Purchasing burial insurance, also called final expense insurance, may be a smart preventative step to ease the financial strain of a funeral. Insurance plans can cover final arrangements and may also help with medical bills or loan repayment. This type of insurance can protect your family against outstanding bills and judgments.

Final expenses can include funeral home bills but also end-of-life care and other unpredictable costs. Compare coverage options to determine what will cover the arrangements you want and any outstanding expenses.

Plan in Advance to Ensure Your Voice is Heard

If you have specific preferences about your final resting place or the type of proceedings you want after your passing, planning ahead can help your wishes be recognized. This is your chance to let loved ones know what flowers you want, if you want any special music or readings, or if you would prefer an unconventional service.

Speaking with loved ones is a good first step. These can be difficult, but necessary, conversations, so be mindful of any assumptions that you or others may have. Of course, there are legal measures you can also take to ensure that your wishes are adhered to. A final wishes document will cover your arrangements, and there are also ways to protect your end-of-life care decisions.

If you are looking for guidance and support during this process, visit Dying Matters in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. They provide resources on caring for loved ones, finalising end of life paperwork, and managing grief.

Establish an Advance Directive to Protect Your Choices

Regardless of your family’s wishes, you, as the patient, can choose what treatment (or lack thereof) that you prefer. One way to guarantee your family lets you have your way is by establishing an advance directive. An advance directive is a document you and your health care team create that stipulates your wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself later. For example, if, at the end of your life, you would prefer not to be resuscitated should the situation arise, your advance directive would contain DNR orders.

Nolo explains that a DNR means that healthcare staff will not attempt CPR and, in many cases, other invasive measures to keep you alive. Even if your family disagrees, having such legal documents on file requires hospital professionals to honour your preferences.

Decide Who will Have Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is another option for ensuring your final wishes are met. Designating someone as your “agent” in advance provides for that person to make health care decisions if you can no longer do so yourself. If you don’t maintain a durable power of attorney, a court will designate someone to make health-related decisions on your behalf. This could be a court-appointed guardian or conservator, your partner, your child, a sibling, or another close relative.

The downside of leaving the decision to chance—or a court of law—means you may find that the person selected doesn’t agree with your wishes. The process can also take time and be costly for anyone who wishes to dispute the decision.

Preserve these Wishes Safely

Once you have these documents created and signed, convert them to PDFs and share them with your close family and friends to ensure they have access to the documents when the time comes. You can combine these files into one document using an online PDF merge tool. Click here for more information about how to save these files quickly and easily.

Plan Now for Less Stress Later

Ultimately, the only way to ensure you get the funeral you want is to plan it yourself. But the benefits of doing so extend beyond simply getting what you want at the end of your life. Setting up your funeral beforehand takes the pressure off your family to make difficult decisions during emotionally and financially trying times. You can ensure that your loved ones have the opportunity to grieve without the added stress of arranging a funeral.

This blog was kindly written and provided by Harry Cline. Harry Cline is creator of and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

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