Why you should pre-plan today

Curtis Woods, Eternal Valley Memorial Park.

We are nearly one-quarter of the way through 2018. It’s hard to believe; time really does fly. This is a good time to stop and reflect on the goals you set for the year, and to possible re-evaluate and adjust them.

Are you getting more sleep, eating better, exercising more often, or saving money? While we hope the answer to these questions is a resounding “YES!,” for most of us, it’s not so positive. So, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate. Pre-planning your life celebration and funeral is one goal that is easy to attain and that brings a lifetime of peace of mind to yourself and others.

Research by The National Funeral Directors Association targeting both funeral directors and consumers found that while the majority of Americans don’t like to think about funerals, an increasing number of adults find that pre-planning a funeral is a wise decision.

Based on their research, and first-hand experience working with families at Eternal Valley, we have identified five of the most important benefits of planning ahead:

‘I want to ease the burden on my family’

If you haven’t left instructions about your final celebration, you leave your family and friends with the task of making difficult decisions at an already trying time. Will they agree on burial or cremated, an open or closed casket, or how much to spend? Confusion and disagreements are common when there is no plan to follow.

‘I want to assume the financial responsibility for my funeral’

Planning ahead allows you to make financial arrangements to cover your funeral costs. Even if you are leaving behind sufficient money, your survivors may not be able to access it and will have to cover the expenses until the estate is settled. Funeral insurance and funeral trusts are sound financial planning options you can consider ahead of time.

‘I want my family to have the benefit of a meaningful life celebration’

A funeral is an important event for grieving family and friends. It provides a sense of closure and starts the healing process. Families and friends benefit emotionally and socially by honoring the lives of those they loved ones with a fitting ceremony and by giving them a proper goodbye. It is difficult to make a funeral the best it can be when it has to be planned quickly and without direction.

‘I want my final wishes to be followed’

If you have specific preferences for the disposition of your remains and the nature of your funeral services, you can clearly express them in your funeral plan. You may have a preference for burial or cremation, the epitaph on your headstone, or the music and readings at your funeral. Or you may not want a funeral ceremony. Whatever your wishes, they need to be set out clearly in your funeral plan.

‘I want to be self-reliant and have my affairs in order at the end of my life’

Taking care of your funeral arrangements is a thoughtful and caring thing to do for your family. It is comforting to know that you have done all you can to ease their burden. And you can be assured that they will appreciate that you cared for them even after you are gone.

Seeking a funeral professional with the expertise to pre-plan can help make the process go smoothly. While most people go into the process with hesitation, a funeral professional with pre-planning expertise and compassion will gently guide you through the experience, leaving you with a sense of relief and comfort.

Curtis Woods, II is general manager of Eternal Valley Memorial Park in Newhall, which is part of Dignity Memorial network of more than 1,800 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers.

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