How to Plan Your Own Funeral?

We all wish that we had an option to choose the way we die; sadly, we can’t. But hold on, we can always plan our funeral.

We know how emotionally tiring and challenging this process can be for you, but in the long run, it would surely save your friends and family from many painful hassles. They won’t be in the best state of mind to plan such kind of an event after your demise. Also, there are a lot of things they will be dealing with after your demise.

Getting insurance is a great way to make things simpler and take the burden off the shoulders of your loved ones.

When planning your funeral, think about how you started planning your wedding after finding the love of your life. A funeral, like a wedding, is a formal event. On your wedding day, you leave your single life behind and prepare yourself for a whole new world where you share everything with your spouse. Similarly, in case of your death, you will leave this world for heavenly abode.

The theme of departure is constant in both the events. Then why is one celebrated with passion and lots of planning while the other is abandoned as if you’ll never depart from this world?

Similarly, if you have a life insurance policy, you need to decide the beneficiaries who will be responsible for paperwork and other legal matters. This further adds to the importance of planning your funeral, but if you’re still confused about where to start, then don’t worry as we got you covered.

Just stop what you’re doing, and look for a peaceful place to sit where you have no distractions.

Brainstorming – Give Some Time

When you are comfortable, start brainstorming about all the services you would like to include in your funeral and jot them down on a notebook. Consider every passing thought in your mind, even if you think it’s not important or seems irrelevant at the moment.

Think about things you have seen at other funerals which you have admired at that point, but never thought of using the same idea or service at your funeral. In a nutshell, note every tiny detail that has ever crossed your mind at funerals that you have visited until now.

In the end, have a look at your list, and start crossing out those services that you don’t want at your funeral. Also, check those services that you want on that day. This will create a comprehensive list of things you plan to implement on your funeral.

Cremation, Burial or Donation

choose burial or cremationIt is weird how we never think about how we want to rest in peace after we die, but not in this case. Planning your funeral would further give you a chance to decide between two types of funerals, i.e., cremation or burial.

In cremation, your body is burnt to ashes, and then those ashes are stored in a container.

In this case, you will be able to choose a container that you want your ashes to be in, or a better option would be to pre-purchase this container and keep it safe at one of your relative’s premises, till your funeral takes place.

Moreover, if you choose a burial, your body will be buried under the ground. It is your choice whether you want to get buried in a box or without it.

Lastly, your budget plays a huge role in deciding what type of funeral you would prefer, because, in the end, your life insurance would cover the whole event.

Choosing to be buried in a box or casket would require you to go shopping for a casket and deciding what kind of casket you want to rest in after your death. There are many options, such as wooden, steel, and glass casket. You will also have to select a cloth, such as cotton, silk, woolen or linen.

Compare Your Choices with Your Budget

Would you want any of your relatives to pay for anything that you chose in your plan? If your budget is limited, your relative might drop one of your options, and you will certainly not be happy with that.

Remember, if you do not want anyone to pay for you or alter your plan, then it is necessary to compare the cost of all the services. You should see if they meet your budget and if you have cash flow problems, then increasing your budget would be a befitting option.

Life Insurance for Burial Expenses

Life is unpredictable and so is death. In many cases of sudden deaths, life insurance plans have been a savior and are advisable for all individuals who have concerns about their death and funeral services.

This insurance plan is called “burial insurance for seniors” or “final expense life insurance” as they fully cover every tiny expense after your death. But, you cannot withdraw the insurance cash, in case of any emergency other than your funeral expenses.

Both the insurance policies tend to provide a sufficient amount that can only cover a basic funeral plan. Moreover, this policy is more suitable for seniors who are over 80 years of age as they cannot sign up for a traditional insurance plan.

If you’re worried about the monthly amount and upfront cost, then we have the perfect news for you. Life insurance policies tend to pay a low amount which means the premium amount is highly affordable.

Compare Insurance Plans

It’s important to compare the final expense of life insurance plans provided by different insurers so that you can get the best deal.


If you make a pre-payment, you will bind the service providers to serve at your funeral even if their charges increase over the years.

Plus, you will be assured of no error in the execution of your plan at the time of your funeral. This will release your relatives from any worry of arranging these services as the vendors will reach the selected venues as soon as they get informed about your departure from this world.

Style of Reception

When deciding on the style of reception, there are several options you can consider. First, decide the time of the gathering; and whether you want it after the funeral or before it, or maybe not at all.

Secondly, decide whether you want the gathering to take place at the graveyard, or your home after the burial ceremony is performed. You also need to decide whether you want people to look at your body before the burial or not?

Lastly, if you decide to allow people to look at the body, then choose if you want the cover of the box to be shut, open or close when people view your body before the burial ceremony.

Plus, as we don’t know if our body would be in a presentable stage when we die, it would be better to include a disclaimer addressing your relatives in the pre-planned list that they should only show your body if it’s in proper condition.

Meet Funeral Directors

As soon as you’re done making a list of services that should be included in your funeral, it’s time to meet funeral directors. These people will help you with the execution of all the selected services and also provide you with cost estimates, so it’s easy for you to compare your choices with other similar options. This way you can make alterations that suit your budget.

Secondly, these directors will also help you out when it comes to choosing the perfect funeral location, whether you want it at a rentable franchise, house or maybe a corporation. Plus, they will also provide you with a price list of all the possible locations that you can consider. This way your guardians won’t even have to worry about rushing to multiple places when your body would need instant burial.

Thirdly, directors will also offer some supporting packages that will go well with your plan. Usually, these packages include conducting a funeral reception at the church or your home. And some other packages include no reception just a simple burial.

Do You Want to Include any Religious Ceremonies?

Religious prayers and pleas for forgiveness are the first and last thing that a departed soul needs at the funeral and same will be the case with you. If you feel compassionate about this, then include it in your list.

Next, meet wit with any priest, minister or a rabbi that can explain how to go about including this process. Plus, this is a complete service, and not a favor so keep in mind that they will also charge you for this.

Last, you have to decide whether you want the religious prayers to take place at the graveyard or the reception as well, regardless of where the reception is going to be held, i.e., your home or church.

Choose a Eulogist

When planning your funeral, selecting the best eulogist is one of the most important steps. This is because a eulogist is an individual who is going to talk about how you lived your life, and what kind of a person you were.

Plus, what things made you happy and what things made you sad, did you treat people nicely, or neglected them all your life. In short, this person is going to replay your life in front of the guest at the funeral, and no one wants the portrayal of their life story to be horrendous.

Now look around your friend circle and family and choose who will be a perfect fit to give a speech about you on the day of your funeral reception. Look for someone who knows you well and you think is important in your life or someone who has impeccable speaking skills and can touch the hearts of your audience.

It’s better to consider your family than choosing a friend because you don’t know whether you will be friends with your chosen eulogist or not when you die.

Moreover, it is going to be beneficial for you to include multiple eulogists in your list; so, if one is not in a position to give the speech, there will be others to take the podium to rewind your life in the eyes of many.

The Choice to Include Any Readings

If you’re a writer, reader, poet or a poetry lover, you must include some favorite phrases or narrations from a book that you love to read and would want people to hear. The words that you think are beautiful, and how your personality resonates with them.

This way many people at the funeral would remember or think about you when they ever come across the same writer later in their life.

And if you’re not into reading, then don’t stress out, we’ve got another option for you, which is to include your favorite songs that can be played at your funeral reception. We know that you must be thinking of what to do if your song preference change after the planning is complete.

In this case, think about what was the first song that you love to hear over and over again, and no don’t tell us that you can’t remember it because everyone has a first favorite song that they listen to on a loop, and that can never change. This is because the first addictive song will remain the same, whether you had 100 favorite songs after that, but nothing can or will beat your first choice of song.

Select the Vocal Environment at the Funeral

choose burial or cremationWhich musical instrument do you like? Do you like flutes and pianos that provide a peaceful environment at an event or are you a loud kind of person and wish for guitars and drums to hit the ears at your reception?

Honestly, the right choice of instruments depends on whether you want people at the funeral to cry for you or you want them to say goodbye to you in a cheerful sentiment.

Usually flutes and piano would make people at the reception emotional. At the same time, if a short concert at the funeral is performed with guitars and drums, they will likely think of you as a person that had no regrets when leaving this world and keeping them happy even till the very end.

Plus, the important thing we need at your funeral is a crowd that loves and respects you. So, choosing the right instrument would decide the number of people attending the funeral and remembering you with every beat of the amazing instrument.

Before including any instrument, you should first consult your funeral director so you are sure about your choice and nothing goes wrong after that.

Photographs and Displays

Often people attend funerals without even knowing what/how the person looked like. This is why choosing the right kind of pictures is way more important than anything. Every photo you choose should tell a story or should prove a connection with your life achievements. We know pre-planning means choosing old pictures, but you can always include pictures to your funeral plan till you are alive.

So when the day comes your family will know what picture to put on display. It should be meaningful, relevant, effective and authentic.

You would want people to look at the images and resonate with them. You can only do this by including pictures taken with your friends and close family members at a picnic, weddings, hangouts, gatherings, and road trips.

These pictures would replay a lot of memories that you had with these people, and they will remember it all their life. This way you will always stay alive in many memories, and that is something that not everyone who has departed from this world could achieve. But you still have a chance, so choose your photographs wisely and make the most out of them.

Who Will Get Your Valuable Possessions

This is an important matter after one’s death. Once getting done with the payments, you need to assess your existing assets and who do you want in your family to have them. So, start thinking about the people who are close to you while you last.

You should also consider who most deserves your assets and what should be your second and third preference if your first choice passes away before you.

Choose Multiple Guardians

You cannot just keep the plan to yourself and think the funeral would go the way you’ve planned. You need to print multiple copies of your plan and spread it amongst your close family members or even friends.

You should explain the whole procedure to them, and reassure them that you’re doing fine and there is nothing that should concern them. It’s just that you want your funeral to be perfect whenever it would take place. Plus, you don’t want anyone to worry about anything when you die.

This way you will be sure that others know about your plan and it would get executed the way you’ve decided.

Bottom Line

We know that the idea of planning your funeral sounds crazy, but it is as important as any event in your life. On the day you die you would want people to look at you and remember you, but if there is no plan, your relatives will be busy looking for funeral services to choose from and get confused.

In this regard, getting yourself a life insurance policy beforehand would mean that many firms would be ready to help your family and friends arrange an immediate funeral ceremony. This is where all your family has to do is cooperate with them and sign the insurance withdrawal papers that are to be handed over to the burial firm.

Linda Chavez

I'm a burial & senior life insurance expert, independent agent, Founder & CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. I have been working in this sector since 2004 and established my own company in 2014. I have a team of seven members, and we are trying hard to share the knowledge we've gathered. We know how difficult often it is to find an affordable policy. Hence, we are doing our best to help you.