Through our lives, there are many ways that we can help protect our family and loved one’s futures. It is always best advised to plan for what may lie ahead from investing wisely, opening savings accounts, and taking insurance policies for life and home. Sadly, it is rare that people spend their time thinking about their end of life arrangements and preparing for the desire to happen during the process and putting the money aside for it.
When one fails to put in concrete plans around this area of life, we tend to leave our loved ones scrambling and add stress as they are grieving a loss. Indeed, it should not fall on them to be responsible for handling these challenging tasks and planning during a time of sadness and loss.
At Eirene, we encourage people to put thought and consideration into their end of life arrangements and plan for the future. In this blog post, we’ll go through the necessary steps that one must consider when pre-planning their cremation.
How to Plan a Cremation Service Ahead of Time
Know your options
Do you know how your loved one would like to be memorialized? Do they have specific wishes that they have shared with you, in person, written down or otherwise?
Sometimes, this topic may never come up. And that’s okay. The most effective way to personalize a funeral and ensure that your loved one is remembered the way they desire is to encourage them to plan things out for themselves in advance.
When it comes to a person’s cremation service, it should ultimately reflect their wishes and provide comfort and a sense of relief to their surviving loved ones.
Taking the time to prepare one’s end of life plans can not only save you stress in the long run, but it is also such an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn about what options are available.
Doing it ahead of the actual loss creates a space where you can learn about what is available to you in a pressure-free environment, giving you time to think through each step.
Keep proper documentation
Estate planning and creating a will is not the be-all and end-all of your end of life planning. And while it is a vital step, it does not consider or ensure that end-of-life wishes for a memorial will be honoured.
A will merely provides legal obligations and instructions for the handling of an individual’s estate, and a living will as well as an advance care planning guide (found on our COVID-19 resources page) clarifies their wishes for treatment. But neither can ensure the actual particulars of what occurs during the cremation of a ceremony.
Even if your loved one has been diligent in maintaining these essential documents, their cremation service still must be planned and paid for.
When we don’t take the time to plan for a funeral or cremation in advance or put aside the funds to pay for it with a funeral fund, the burden falls on the grieving loved one who may now know all the deceased’s preferences.
Pre-planning your end of life arrangements help make sure that your loved one’s desires are known. Documenting them provides a record that can be shared with the family or discussed with lawyers if needed.
Prearranging helps ensure that your loved one’s wishes are made known.
Keep all your end of life documents together in an easily accessible folder for safekeeping.
Include the family and other close connections
A funeral or memorial service is essential for the one who has passed and for the family and the deceased’s loved ones. It gives loved ones a space to grieve and express their cherished memories as well as a place to say their final goodbyes.
When pre-arranging a cremation or a memorial service, family members’ opinions and wishes should always be considered.
Prearranging is a perfect time for family members to discuss arrangements and make objective, emotion-free decisions together. Collaborating with those closest to your loved one in this process can foster a sense of relief and peace of mind for the bereaved.
Decide on the method of final place of resting.
Generally, the method of final disposition is based on the deceased’s personal choices. Their culture, religion or beliefs will likely influence what they choose.
Whether they choose direct cremation, entombment in a mausoleum or a burial, it is essential that you respect your loved one’s choices. As we mentioned above, keeping detailed documents on their wishes is vital. These can be kept in a prearrangement document and discussed with their nearest and dearest ahead of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask about prices
Cremation costs can vary considerably depending on the provider you choose. Eirene’s all-inclusive pre-paid cremation packages start at $2500, but other providers cost upwards of $4500.
When choosing a funeral home or a cremation provider, look for places that clearly outline their prices, and ask for an itemized price list in advance. That way, you can educate yourself on overall costs and are not blindsided by service and product add-ons.
Consider prepaying for your arrangements.
Taking the time to pre-plan can help finalize the details, but only putting funds away or prepaying for arrangements can take care of the expenses ahead of time.
Savings can be helpful, but costs change with inflation. Thus, prepaying is a smart choice because it locks current prices for the services you choose. Prearranging helps minimize any future financial burdens that could be left on surviving family members.
Government benefits may help cover costs.
Check out our government funeral funding article to learn what benefits are available to you for end of life planning in each Canadian province. Additional options are also available in our post: What if I can't afford to die?.
Seek expert advice
Arranging a funeral or cremation service can feel overwhelming and complicated. Still, there’s always an Eirene care team representative available to help answer all your questions around cremation and our inclusive packages.
Our care team is here to help walk you through the step-by-step process of prearrangement. Contact us today.