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These days, more and more people are taking the steps to pre-plan their final arrangements. What’s more, they’re not just selecting and pre-paying for services, but personalizing many of the details, such as photos, memorabilia and other aspects of the ceremony and reception.
People today want to plan well in advance, even if it means having some difficult conversations with loved ones. “The stigma surrounding funerals continues to minimize, as the personalization and celebration of a life is where people are focusing their attention,” says Shannon Burberry, funeral director at Forest Lawn Funeral Home & Cemetery in London, Ontario.
We spoke to Burberry about some of the benefits of planning ahead. Here are the top ones.
Get peace of mind
One of the major reasons to make final arrangements in advance is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your personal preferences and requests will be respected when the time comes. Plus, by planning in advance, you’ll be able to create a funeral that’s an expression of your individuality. “Our focus in honouring a life is based around an individual’s personality and interests,” says Burberry. “This may include sports, hobbies, religious or spiritual beliefs, fraternal organizations, career and even favourite foods.”
Burberry’s clients often request keepsakes to be given to guests, such as personalized golf balls or a favourite chocolate bar. She also organizes themed receptions—a pizza and wing night, for example—as well as meaningful gestures, such as a champagne toast or a butterfly release. “We spend a great deal of time inquiring about the person’s interests,” she explains.
Alleviate the burden on family
By acting early, you can ease the stress on your family and friends at the time of passing. The discussion of options with loved ones is a big part of the pre-planning process. “We encourage people to openly discuss this with their family, to create a unique and meaningful final goodbye,” says Burberry.
It makes sense to have these tough talks while you’re all in a relaxed environment and have clarity of mind. Together, you and your loved ones can plan a day that honours your memory in a lasting way and that will comfort those you leave behind. You’ll feel good knowing that the people you care about the most won’t be burdened with additional responsibilities at their time of suffering.
Save on costs
Did you know that planning early can save up to thousands of dollars? By pre-paying for products and services, you can ensure that your investment is protected from inflation. More importantly, you’ll save your family members from the financial burden of a funeral. “Pre-planning minimizes the family’s out-of-pocket expenses at the time of a death,” says Burberry.
There’s a myth that funeral pre-planning is only for the wealthy, but that’s simply not the case. Arrangements can be paid for in full, or through a payment plan that suits your needs. As Burberry points out, “the payment structure is designed to meet any budget, regardless of age or financial means.”
These are just some of the many benefits of early planning. If you’re ready to take the first step, Arbor Memorial can help provide you with respectful and meaningful end-of-life products and services. For more information, go to arbormemorial.ca.