Many people have very specific preferences for how their funeral should take place. These can include where they want the funeral to be held, who should be invited, what the person will wear, who should speak, what music should be played, and who should act as pallbearers.
If these things are important to you, it’s a good idea to take steps to make sure your wishes are carried out properly. You can write detailed instructions, and let your family know where they can find the information.
It may be tempting to include this information in your will, but you should remember that wills are often not opened until long after the funeral is over. It’s usually better to write a separate document. You might want to attach a copy of it to your health care directive.
If you don’t make your wishes known, the responsibility for making funeral and burial decisions will rest with your loved ones. If you’re married, your spouse will usually be in charge of making the decisions. If you’re not married, the responsibility will likely go to your children or other family members.
Often, a person’s loved ones are in a state of grief shortly after a death; they might find it hard to make these decisions, or they might find that having to make them increases their emotional suffering. Worse, in some cases family members might disagree about the decisions, leading to unnecessary conflict. That’s why it can be a great comfort to family members to know that they are carrying out someone’s last wishes.
Another option is to make arrangements in advance directly with a funeral home. However, you should be very careful if a funeral home offers you a “prepaid” funeral plan. While these may be okay with a reputable funeral home that you know and trust, there have been many cases where a funeral home has gone out of business and has taken many people’s “prepaid” funds with it, or has otherwise failed to live up to its commitments once the person who signed the agreement has died and can no longer complain.