We prepare for everything in life from buying a house to the birth of children and their college education and weddings as well as major vacations and retirement. Each is an expensive life event with lasting and fond memories — especially when they are well-planned. Death is also one of the major events in life that when planned in advance can be less expensive and make a difficult time less difficult for loved ones. Legacy estate planning that includes pre-planning your burial also is a way to ensure your loved ones remember a life well-lived.
Five reasons to do your burial planning in advance:
1. It will let your loved ones know you cared enough to plan ahead.
Planning a memorial service can be difficult, both emotionally and financially. But it also can bring closure for those who mourn if the focus of your legacy planning is on the life you have shared together rather than on the financial and emotional burden of planning your burial.
2. Finding a cemetery that fits your budget is easier than ever.
Cemetery prices vary based on the market, and the prices within individual cemeteries also can vary based on location and desirability. Through services such as the National Network of Cemeteries and its online searchable database of cemeteries, it is easy to find a cemetery in a desirable location and within your budget.
3. Who doesn’t want to have more control over their life and memorialization?
Pre-planning lets you be in control of your legacy planning by deciding exactly how and where you will be laid to rest in a cemetery of your choosing. Regardless of whether you chose a cemetery location for burial or for the scattering or placement of cremated ashes, pre-planning will allow you to select a cemetery setting to your liking.
4. You can protect your religious and spiritual beliefs.
All members of your family may or may not share the same religious beliefs and values. Burial pre-planning is one way to ensure your end-of-life decisions will be respected. In fact, if you have had a religious or spiritual change during your lifetime, pre-planning will avoid decisions that are in opposition to your lifestyle or beliefs.
5. Cemetery planning allows you to personalize your final resting place.
An Illinois cemetery has a headstone that looks like a miniature pool table. In a Vermont cemetery, an empty stone chair with a name engraved in the seat back serves as a headstone. Most cemeteries today have rules to regulate the types of memorials placed on the grounds. If you want to personalize your final resting place with a unique or unusual memorial, pre-planning will give you time to research your options and create your own, unique design that represents your well-lived life.