There are a number of decisions you can make when pre-planning your funeral. The first step is to decide what you want to have happen to your body after your death. Whatever decision you make will help guide you through the rest of your planning.
Once you have decided what you want to have happen with your remains, you should consider if you want a ceremony and if so, what kind of ceremony you would like. If that ceremony includes the use of a funeral home and/or cemetery, it is important to consider your options. You should shop around and find a funeral home that fits your needs and gives you the best value. Start by researching what is available in your area and go visit the funeral homes. It is a good idea to bring someone with you when you visit, and do not sign anything on the first visit!
Funeral directors are required by federal regulation to provide you with specific pricing information upon request. Ask the funeral director to give you a “General Price List.” You may be surprised to find big price differences, so compare these lists and choose the best option for you.
Whatever you decide, keep a copy of all your paperwork and write down any wishes you have about specific things. Share this information with your spouse or a close friend or relative so they can make sure your plans are put into effect. You can include your funeral and burial plans in your estate plan and can direct your Personal Representative to act in accordance with your wishes. For more information on Wills and Personal Representatives, see the section of this chapter titled “Wills”.