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How to Preplan a Cremation: What You Need To Know

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Cremation is a rising trend in the United States. 48.5% of dispositions were cremations in 2015, and the percentage is expected to grow to 56.2% by 2020.

Also increasing is the number of people preplanning their funerals. Did you know you can also preplan your cremation? 

While the process is similar in many ways to a funeral, there are a few different options to consider. Continue reading to learn more about how to plan the right memorial that honors your personal preferences.

Related Resource: Download the Seniors' Guide to Funeral Arrangements; How Preplanning Can Save Time, Money and Worry

Choose a Cremation Facility

To begin planning for your cremation, you’ll need to choose a facility. We recommend that you choose a funeral home with an on-site crematory. In doing so, the body remains under the care of one facility throughout the entire process.

When funeral homes use a third-party provider or standalone crematory, the body temporarily leaves the care of the funeral home. This creates opportunities for mistakes.

It’s important to ask potential providers specific questions to ensure you receive the care and memorial you’re expecting. Not all providers are the same, and it’s up to you to find out if they are the right fit. Here are some questions to consider:

• What services are included?

• What care will my loved one receive?

• What are my options for a gathering?

• Do they have testimonials?

Choose a Cremation Package

There are different package options based on your preferences and budget. But, the package you choose depends mostly on whether the cremation takes place before or after your memorial service.

Most funeral homes offer these types of packages:

• Traditional Cremation - Similar to a funeral, the body is present during the visitation and service. You have the option to rent or buy a casket for the body, which will be cremated after the service.

• Cremation with Memorial – The family holds a memorial after the cremation takes place. The urn is usually present for the visitation with a picture or visual representation of the deceased. A memorial is held at a church or funeral home.

• Graveside Memorial – For a graveside memorial, the cremation takes place prior to the memorial at the cemetery.

• Simple Cremation – Simple cremation does not include a memorial or service.

Unsure? Learn more about your costs and options when planning a cremation >> 

Plan Your Memorial

An advantage of preplanning your cremation is that you plan your memorial for your family members and friends. How you personalize it is up to you. Your preplanning advisor will guide you through the steps of securing the celebration you want.

If you want to have a memorial service, choose where you would like it to take place. While you can hold your memorial at a funeral home or church, those aren’t your only options. Most funeral homes will work with a wide variety of locations.

You decide on the traditional elements your service entails. For example, choose flowers and music that represent you. Select photos to display during the memorial to comfort those who attend. Take it to another level and plan a theme for your memorial or request that your guests wear your favorite color. These personal touches help bring everyone together during a difficult time.

Finalize Your Resting Place

With cremation, you have many options when choosing your final resting place. Here are a few:

• Cremation Keepsakes: Your surviving family may like to honor your memory by wearing cremation jewelry. There are other options as well, such as garden markers that hold cremains in a decorative rock, and keepsakes bearing your thumbprint.

• Type of urn: The urn you choose is dependent on what will be done with it. Your advisor will explain your choices and take care of any details.

• If you plan to have your urn stay in a family member’s home, choose a decorative design. In considering this option be aware future generations of your family will also be responsible for caring for your urn over the next 50-100 years.

• If you want your urn interred in a cemetery, there may be guidelines as to the type of urn you can choose.

• Scattered Cremains: Is there a meaningful location or landmark where you would like to have your cremains scattered? Document these wishes and review the legal rights surrounding scattering and transporting cremains with your advisor.

As in funeral preplanning, choosing the right funeral home and advisor makes all the difference. Your advisor is there to put you at ease and to help you feel confident in your decisions.


 Funeral Preplanning Financial Guide

Image Credit: Caroline via Flickr


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