Pre-Planning for Peace of Mind
Pre-planning for arrangements following your death will help to ease your family’s stress and financial burdens during an emotional period.
Peace of mind is priceless — and yet completely achievable when you choose to pre-plan your end-of-life arrangements.
Let’s face it: We would prefer not to think about dying. And yet it’s inevitable. Knowing that, one of the most selfless and practical gifts we can give our families is to pre-plan what will happen at the end of our life. Having a plan will take the guesswork out of the process for your family. They will know your final wishes; all of the details will have been handled (whether you want a burial or a cremation, a traditional funeral service or a celebratory party, etc.); and perhaps most importantly, the costs will have been covered.
Conceptually, this makes sense to most people, yet research continues to show that while consumers acknowledge the importance of preplanning their own funeral, they fail to do so in practice. In fact, in the most recent annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), 62.5 percent of respondents felt it was very important to communicate their funeral plans and wishes to family members prior to their own death, but only 21.4 percent had done so.
So, what causes this huge gap in intentions vs. reality? For many people, they say they haven’t made pre-planning a priority, or simply haven’t thought about it all. It’s when these conversations don’t take place and your wishes aren’t discussed in advance that remaining loved ones struggle the most to make the right decisions. Afterall, if you have not expressly made your plan and desires known, how can anyone else guess your preferences? If your family has ever been in a position of planning a funeral and not knowing what the deceased would have wanted, you fully understand the emotional and perhaps financial stress of the situation.
Chad Frye, a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner and Market Leader for Thompson Funeral Homes, has worked with hundreds of families, including those who pre-planned and those who didn’t. His vast experience with both scenarios makes him a strong advocate for pre-planning.
For example, he says that many individuals have the misconception that preplanning isn’t necessary and/or doesn’t provide an immediate benefit, and yet when a death occurs, their family members are left with a financial liability.
“Pre-planning your services will ease the burden on your family, who will be faced with making difficult decisions at your time of passing,” Frye adds. “Pre-planning allows you to assume financial responsibility for your end-of-life arrangements. And something most people don’t think about is that when you pre-pay these expenses, you will be protected from inflation of services and merchandise over time.”
In death as in life, there are many decisions to be made — and perhaps many more details than you have considered.
“It turns out that planning for death is planning,” says David Sloane, a professor at the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy and an expert on the study of grieving and funeral customs, in USC News. He says the way we think about death has changed dramatically in the past 50 years.
“Today, we’re in a very extraordinary moment,” Sloane is quoted as saying in the article. “For over 100 years, Americans have taken care of their dead in very specific ways, and each of these is being challenged, each of these is being a little pushed by what’s happening in our world.”
All of these changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means you have the option to create an end-of-life-service specifically tailored to your personality and budget. Indeed, key findings from the aforementioned NFDA Survey indicate that end-of-life services are becoming increasingly personal and can feature new or unique approaches. For example, perhaps you’d like your service to be held in an unconventional location; maybe you want a special theme threaded throughout your celebration; or following another trend, maybe you want to consider how your service can be “green” or as ecologically friendly as possible.
Some of the additional basic choices not to forget include music, speakers, whether religious readings will play a role, menu guidelines if food is to be served, etc. Remember, the more you plan, the easier you make it for your family.
If you’re ready to benefit from pre-planning and create your own peace of mind, take the first simple step. Contact one of the Preplanning Specialists at Thompson Funeral Homes. As licensed funeral directors they are well equipped to educate you on all of the options and have an open conversation about plans that best fit you as an individual. Learn more at Thompsonsfuneral.com or call 803-996-1023.