Planning for your own funeral can seem a morbid thought.
For most, it’s not an easily-discussed topic, but a family member’s death can prompt thoughts about pre-funeral planning can be.
Bob Parson has been a director at Modell Funeral Home for 25 years and shared some of his experiences with clients who have pre-arranged either some or many details of their own funerals.
“It happens quite a lot,” Parson said. “People from all ages from 30 and older have come in to make their arrangements.”
In the case of older clients, the motivation can be sparked by a move to an assisted living facility or as part of estate planning.
In the case of younger clients, Parson explained, the reason often stems from personal experience with their own parent’s funeral during which specific aspects had not been planned.
“Those clients don’t want to go through what they went through with their parents,” Parson said.
“It’s traumatic, and people don’t want to make decisions when feeling emotional,” Parson added. “They want to make sound decisions at the right time.”
Most funeral homes strive to be comprehensive in their pre-planning service with attention to even the smallest components.
Joe Negy, director at Toon Funeral Home in Westmont affirmed that the nature of the business is to take away as much stress as possible during the most stressful event in life.
“Just because a client comes in to talk about their own funeral, doesn’t mean they have to fund it immediately, sign anything or commit to anything,” Negy said.
Sometimes people come in to begin a dialogue and to choose a few specifics, Negy said. He added that whether or not they pre-pay or purchase an insurance plan, their information is kept in a file so that it’s accessible at a later date by clients or their families.
Parson noted that any additional adjustments can always be made such as changing an obituary to reflect the addition of new grandchildren.
Some further details funeral directors can aid in the selection of include preparing death certificates, newspaper notices, memorial service particulars, flower choices and holy cards.
Online funeral planning sites list scores of other options to pre-consider such as choosing charities, pallbearers and monuments.
And Negy noted that clients may not even be aware that certain options exist such as “green burials” offered through the Windridge Memorial Park and Nature Sanctuary in Cary, IL.
While Toon Funeral Homes hasn’t had more than a couple of green burial requests, said Negy, all funeral providers have resources to accommodate their clients’ needs.
As Parson and Negy both noted, although it’s not pleasant to consider, everyone will pass away.
“At least [with pre-planning] you have a say,” Negy said, “and maybe it provides a little security in the end so that you can concentrate on being with your family.”