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    Funeral Planning

    Cemetery Life Funeral Planning

    Where to Start When you Don't Know How to Start: Funeral Shopping – The Basics

    STEP 1: Funeral Planning Is a Family Matter

    Funeral planning starts at home. Just as most families discuss weddings, home-buying, college, and other major life issues, so should they discuss funerals. Death will come to each of us, no matter how long we put off discussing it. Avoiding the topic won't stave off death, but it will make the funeral more difficult, and likely more expensive, for survivors. Families who make funeral planning a normal part of life tell us that conversation made a painful time easier to bear. Many people say they found great meaning and peace carrying out thoughtful funeral plans that honored their family members in an appropriate and affordable way.

    There are as many ways to honor the dead as there are cultures, religions and budgets. Your personal philsophy or faith should guide your choices. No religion or philosophy dictates how much money should be spent on a funeral, and no belief system encourages burdensome spending. Families can choose simple arrangements, such as a cremation with no ceremony, or more elaborate ones, such as a long wake before a funeral. They can use no coffin at all, or they can choose a handcrafted oak casket. They can keep the body at home for a very private visitation, or they can hold a public viewing at a funeral home.

    Whatever you choose, be sure it's based on what's meaningful to you, not on what you think "the community" expects you to do. No amount of money, great or small, can express how we feel about those who have died. Taking an active role in our family's funeral arrangements - whether that means carrying out the whole process without a funeral home, or just preparing and delivering the eulogy - is more meaningful than the money we spend.

    STEP 2: What Are My Options?
    Cemetery Life Funeral Planning
    STEP 3: Putting It All Together

    Once you've found a funeral home you want to use, or a list of good choices, what then? Again, bring those likely to survive you in on the conversation. Tell them what you've found, share your wishes with them, and show them what a funeral home price list looks like. Share this brochure with them. If your plans go awry, or your death occurs away from home, they'll need the skills you've developed to negotiate the funeral for themselves.

    Most importantly, put your plans in writing, in as much detail as necessary. FCA offers a funeral planning kit that comes with a 16-page fill-in-the-blanks booklet for your funeral plans, the locations of your important papers, your computer passwords, and more. The "Before I Go, You Should Know" planning kit also comes with state-specific advance medical directives. Basic kits are $12 each from the national FCA ($17 each for the enhanced version which includes a chapter on your state's consumer protection laws taken from the book Final Rights), but check with your local FCA group to see if they supply them. Whether you buy a planning kit, or draft your plans on your own stationery, the most important thing is to copy them and distribute them to those who will be handling your funeral arrangements.