More and more people are beginning to consider and choose prepaid cremation, which gives you the opportunity to plan for your passing before it happens, ensuring your wishes are honored and alleviating stress for those you leave behind. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of prepaid cremation is the opportunity to fully understand the options available to you and make decisions that feel dignified and restful to you.
First Things First: What is Prepaid Cremation?
The definition of prepaid cremation varies in the details, but generally speaking, those who choose prepaid cremation both plan and pay for their cremation and service ahead of time. In some cases, the person planning and paying is the decedent himself or herself prior to passing (sometimes many years prior), while in other cases a power of attorney or family member may opt for this route to allow time for grieving and fellowship following an expected passing.
Steps in the Process
While clients often express apprehension about discussing their own mortality, most find that the process brings peace and comfort as they work through the steps. Many share that preplanning feels like a gift they’re able to leave for their loved ones when they go. Others share that having a seat at the table while important decisions are made helps them feel like they have a bit of control in a situation that may otherwise feel out of their control.
Here are the steps in the process:
1. Consider whether cremation is right for you. Choosing between cremation and burial is a very personal decision with no right or wrong answer. The first step in the process is answering the questions, “How do I feel about cremation?” and, “Is this the right choice for me?”
2. Explore services. A common misconception about cremation is that there is no need for a service when in actuality, most people who choose cremation also choose to gather together and celebrate life through a memorial service. While the memorial service is optional, if you do want a service, it can be before cremation, after cremation, or graveside if you choose to bury the cremated remains.
3. Share your preferences. Once you’ve selected the kind of service you want, we assist you in planning the components of the service you’d like to plan. The funeral home will ask questions to learn more about your preferences and desires surrounding end of life to design a service that reflects your essence and the needs of your loved ones.
4. Consider how the remains should be handled. One of the most important decisions you’ll make as you plan a prepaid cremation is how your (or your loved one’s) remains will be handled. Some of the most common options include burial at a cemetery, kept in an urn with loved ones, or scattered in a sacred or loved place. New, creative options that are gaining popularity include shooting remains into space, incorporating them into fireworks, incorporate them into the planting of a new tree, or turning them into jewelry that your loved ones can wear. Making the decision ahead of time is helpful.
5. Choose your products. Some of the purchases that may need to be made in advance include a casket for the service before cremation, an urn or container for cremation remains, a cemetery plot, and a headstone if the remains will be buried.
6. Arrange for payment. Paying in advance provides multiple benefits: it alleviates the burden on your loved ones after you pass, avoiding inflation, and having the opportunity to make important financial decisions without pressure or stress. In terms of how to pay, some funeral homes allow you to set up a payment plan and pay for service over time when you choose to prepay.
7. Share with your loved ones. Once you’ve chosen prepaid cremation and made your plans, it’s critical that your loved ones know about the arrangements you’ve made. Notify several people who you expect to be involved in arrangements, and ensure the information is in your living will.
How Much Does it Cost?
While cremation can be less expensive than a traditional service and burial, that isn’t always the case. The cost of cremation depends on a myriad of factors, including whether you choose to hold a funeral prior to cremation, how you want your remains handled, whether you need a burial plot and headstone, and other factors. However, the average cost of cremation when you work with a funeral home ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. When you plan ahead, you know exactly what to expect and can price out different options to make the most informed decision.
Choosing the Right Funeral Home
When you choose prepaid cremation, time is on your side. That means you can spend time choosing the right funeral home. Schedule a consultation with at least two funeral homes in your area – preferably those with an active online presence and strong reviews – and bring great questions to ensure you have all the information you need to make a decision:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you hold any personal beliefs that limit my options?
- Do you outsource any services to a third-party vendor?
- What services are available to me here? Which services are included in package costs, and which will incur an additional cost?
- Is your team available 24 hours per day?
- If I choose prepaid cremation, what are my payment options?
- What kind of support will you provide to my loved ones?
Take thorough notes at each introductory meeting so you can compare the strengths and opportunities of each to make a decision you feel good about long term.
To learn more about preplanning cremation or get guidance on other aspects of burial, reach out to the caring staff at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery today.