How To Plan Your Own Funeral

How to Plan Your Own Funeral

No matter how healthy and spry you feel today, there will come a day when you die. We all know it’s coming, it’s just not something we like to think about much. Why dwell on death when you’ve got life to worry about?

Because thinking about what happens after you die now can actually have some serious benefits for your loved ones down the line.

As of 2007, about 23% of people over the age of 50 had taken steps to plan their own funeral in advance. There are a number of good reasons to consider this option:

  • You can make sure the funeral looks exactly as you’d like it to and control what happens to your remains.

  • You can save your family the trouble of having to make arrangements during a time of stress and grief.

  • You have the time and flexibility to shop around for the best deal without the time constraints your loved ones would be facing after your death.

  • You can choose to pre-pay, to save your family the burden of the cost.

  • You can guarantee the price at the time you pay, so neither you nor your family will have to worry about costs going up over time.

Pre-planning your funeral does require thinking about your death, a daunting prospect for some, but the benefits for you and your family can be well worth it.

Research Your Options

There are a number of options to choose from in terms of what happens to your body. From environmentally friendly options like green burials and cremation, to the more traditional choice of embalming and burial, you can choose from a range of choices based on what’s best for you, your family, and your budget.

There are even more options available for how your funeral looks. The choices you have here are really only limited by your budget and your imagination. The Dignity Planner includes a few examples for inspiration. You can plan a funeral that’s unique and set to a theme personal to you, or go with a more traditional and simple ceremony. Neither option is better than the other, and both will be meaningful and memorable for your loved ones.

Make Your Plans

Work with a local funeral home to map out the details. Funeral homes are usually happy to help you pre-plan your funeral (as it means more business for them), and they’ll have good knowledge of the more logistical aspects of it that need to be figured out.

Pre-planning does not require pre-paying, but that is also an option. If you want to save your family from concerns about the funeral’s cost, pre-paying may be an attractive option. It can also save money if something you pay for now rises in cost in the years between now and your death.

You do have to be careful with this option though; it’s not free from scams or bad deals. You can take a few precautions to avoid spending money now that doesn’t end up aiding your family after all.

Provide Clear Instructions to Family

If you pre-plan your funeral but nobody knows about it, they’ll probably end up planning it all over again. Make sure the people closest to you know about the plans you made and have all the information they need to carry them out.

They’ll appreciate having clear instructions to follow. Not having to make any difficult decisions during a time of grief is a blessing for many. It’s a simple gift you can give to those you love.

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and lifelong student with an ongoing curiousity to learn and explore new things. She turns that interest to researching and exploring subjects helpful to seniors and their families for


  1. Jade Brunet August 3, 2016 Reply

    I think that it is a good idea to start planning your own funeral to save your family and friends work and stress when the actual day arrives. I love that there is the option of pre-paying. Another thing to look at would be choosing who to speak at the service.

  2. Derek Mcdoogle March 20, 2017 Reply

    In your article, you stated that as of 2007, about 23% of people over the age of 50 had taken steps to plan their own funeral in advance and there are a number of good reasons to consider. My best friend called me last night because his father was diagnosed with a terminal disease and he doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare for his death. I wonder if most funeral homes have a pre-planning option that they provide for their clients.

  3. John May 26, 2017 Reply

    I think the tip to research funeral options well in advance in order to get what’s best for your family and budget is a great idea. I feel like having your plans laid out in advance would not only be a huge comfort to your family, but I’d imagine it would also comfort you as well. My mother-in-law has been debating on whether or not she ought to start making plans for her funeral, but I think it would be helpful on my wife and the rest of her siblings when my mother-in-law does pass.

  4. Barbera Peters August 9, 2017 Reply

    It is awesome that you mention how you can choose to pre-pay for your own funeral and save my family the burden of the cost as a benefit to having a pre-planned funeral. I am currently writing my final will and wanted to see what I need to plan for my funeral so my family has to and you mentioned that I have a number of options of what happens to me when I am gone. You said that a funeral and be unique and personal or traditional and simple. I will have to keep these in mind when looking at all of my options.

  5. Finley Moreira August 28, 2017 Reply

    I think the greatest benefit you mentioned was that pre-planning your own funeral can save your family stress and grief during your passing. This is something I’d want for my family to help make my passing easier on them. I’ll be sure to take your advice and do plenty of research first so I know what fits in my budget.

  6. Johnny McCarron September 14, 2017 Reply

    When my father passed, he had no plan in place for how he wanted his funeral to be. This made me realize that I want to leave a detailed plan for my children to make the process as easy on them as possible. I want it to be a celebration of life not a frustrating and stressful event.

  7. Hannah Schroeder September 27, 2017 Reply

    It’s good to know that most funeral services are happy to help you pre-plan a memorial. My husband passed away about a year ago, and we were completely unprepared. I want to make sure my family knows what to do when I die, so maybe I should find a funeral home that can help me start planning now.

  8. Michael December 27, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for helping me learn more about planning my own funeral. One thing that really resonated with me was that I could save my family a lot of trouble by planning everything out now while I still have the time so that my kids can focus on griefing efficiently. I am getting older, and I think that I could not only save some money by planning everything out now, but I think that I can help everyone have a more stress-free experience by working with a funeral home. Thanks for the post, and I will talk to my family about this as soon as I can.

  9. Amanda Drew February 7, 2018 Reply

    I like how you say that funeral homes will help you learn all of the logistics that come from planning a funeral. My husband and I are both getting on in age, and we think that we should start thinking towards the future. We’re both rather particular in our wishes, and I think that it would help our family once we pass. We’ll have to find someone who can help us pre-plan our funeral services.

  10. Sutton Turners April 9, 2018 Reply

    I like how you talked about researching all options for your funeral. My grandma is intent on planning her own funeral. Thanks for the advice on how to plan your own funeral.

  11. John May 8, 2018 Reply

    Funeral Pre-Planning has become more and more popular as the years go by. Our team at Neil Bardal Funeral Centre are helping people daily pre-plan their wishes. Thank you for this great informative piece.

  12. Bethany Birchridge May 21, 2018 Reply

    I like that you mentioned that pre-planning your funeral can help your family, as grief can make it harder to plan things. My dad is getting older, so he’s been wanting to learn more about planning his own funeral. Where can he learn more?

  13. Ken Hwan June 18, 2018 Reply

    I have getting some of the funeral arrangements together for my mother in law, who is reaching the end of her life very soon. I was very grateful to learn that funeral homes are very happy to help you plan your funeral earlier, since it means more business for them. I am very premature in my planning, and I want to make sure that I won’t have a problem planning a funeral this far in advance!

  14. Taylor Bishop July 30, 2018 Reply

    Thanks for these tips for planning a funeral. I didn’t know that you can guarantee the price so that the cost doesn’t go up over time. This seems very helpful if you know your family has a budget but still want to ensure they can pay for the funeral expenses.

  15. Camille Devaux September 18, 2018 Reply

    A friend of mine was looking for help on getting a funeral package. She was thinking about looking into this for a loved one but needs some advice. I will let her know that she should make plans with a local funeral home for help.

  16. Sariah Meagle April 2, 2019 Reply

    I’m grateful for the tip that you said that I should research my options to find the funeral arrangement that I want when I pass. I think I’ll make my plans once I am able to decide which funeral home I’m going to arrange my plans with. I’ll make sure to provide clear instructions to my family once I’ve made my decision so that everyone is aware of my wants when I die.

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