The 3 Most Common Funeral Planning Mistakes
January 17, 2018
For many years, our funeral home in Gaithersburg, Maryland has helped hundreds of families plan a meaningful funeral service to say goodbye to their loved ones. During the planning of these services, we have seen the same mistakes be made over and over. Even though every funeral is different, most services often follow a similar planning checklist. While common steps like selecting a casket, purchasing flowers, or choosing a burial plot may seem easy, there are also many common funeral planning mistakes people make during this process.
Below we discuss the 3 most common mistakes made in funeral planning that we have seen over the years.
1. Not Establishing a Budget
One of the most common mistakes is not keeping the funeral on a budget. This is arguably one of the most important conversations to have when planning a funeral. It is important to know things like if the deceased has money set aside for funeral expenses and how it can be accessed after he/she passes away. If there are no savings set aside, then your family should discuss how much of the estate should go towards covering these costs. For many people, they would rather their loved ones benefit from any money they inherit rather than using it to cover their funeral expenses.
Sticking to a budget for a funeral can be difficult for some people because they equate how expensive a product or service is to how much you loved the deceased. Obviously, this is not the case but it is a thought that can reach our subconscious. Set a firm budget and stick to it. If you feel like something is absolutely necessary, then you should look for other areas where you can select more affordable products to make sure you stay on budget. If you go over budget on one product it’s not the end of the world, but if you go over on every detail these additional expenses will quickly add up and can put you thousands of dollars over budget. Overall, any of the services and products involved in a funeral are not cheap. Spending money on a funeral needs to be carefully thought out. It needs to be given the attention of any other big purchase in life like buying a car or paying University tuition.
2. Not Balancing Your Loved One’s Wishes with the Needs of the Guests
Something important to remember with funeral planning is that a funeral is not just for the deceased, it for the living as well. Far too frequently, the funeral arrangements are based upon what the family believes the deceased would have wanted. The problem with this though is that the deceased will not be able to take part in the service. While it is important to honor the deceased’s end-of-life wishes such as burial vs. cremation or funeral vs. memorial service, there are some things that should be planned with the guests in mind. For example, specifics like the location or length of the visitation may not have been specified by the deceased. In this case you want to have a large enough space and you want the visitation to last an appropriate amount of time to properly accommodate the number of guests you expect. Specifics that the deceased did not give direction on are left to the family’s discretion and these choices should be made wisely.
It is quite common for people to tell their loved ones not to plan a service for them. In this case, the family may forego holding a service all together. The problem with this is that they forget that a service allows them to say a proper goodbye. Attending a service helps a lot of people cope with their grief and depriving them of this opportunity can make the loss that much tougher. When you plan a service, keep both the deceased’s wishes and the needs of their loved ones in mind.
3. Not Being able to Locate Important Papers and Documents
If you are tasked with being the executor of an estate, it is crucial that you know where your loved one’s important documents are stored and you need to ensure you have access to them. This includes papers such as their will, bank account information, and life insurance policies. During both funeral planning and the settling of the estate, each of these are important documents that must be reviewed to obtain legal documents such as a death certificate. More importantly though, these documents can provide helpful information in regard to estate settlement and the final wishes of the deceased.
If you are starting to think about final wishes and funeral planning, it is important to have a discussion with your loved ones. By talking about things like funeral costs, end-of-life wishes, wills, and other pesonal documentation, you can make the funeral arrangement process less stressful. If you would like to learn more about funeral planning, contact us today or check out the funeral planning section of our site.