Don’t Make These 3 Mistakes When Funeral Planning

Though many of us plan big events like vacations, birthday parties, graduations and family reunions, we tend to fall short when it comes to thinking ahead about our own funerals.

In this article you will learn about three common mistakes of funeral planning. You’ll also learn how to avoid them.

Mistake No. 1: Not planning a funeral in advance

The most common regret people have when dealing with the loss of a loved one is not knowing what that person wanted for his or her funeral arrangements. Family members are faced with planning a funeral quickly, while they are experiencing increased stress and difficult emotions. Planning your funeral in advance takes this hardship off family and allows them to grieve and heal.

Then why, if many Canadians agree that planning ahead is a good idea, are they reluctant to actually do it?

It’s challenging to consider your own passing, but planning a celebration of life in advance ensures your wishes are followed, and you can lock in today’s prices on many items. Planning end-of-life details ahead of time gives you more control over what happens. You can specify everything from the type of service to your final resting place, readings and passages, songs, and even choose a catering menu and flower arrangements. This can be especially important if family members may not agree with your choices.

A funeral planning guide takes you through the process in private, providing conversation starters and inspiration, so you can begin to explore how you’d like to be remembered and talk about it with your family. A planner can then take you through a funeral checklist and establish your wishes in writing, giving you peace of mind that your preferences will be honoured.

Mistake No. 2: Not documenting and sharing your wishes

Maybe you’ve thought about your funeral in detail, right down to what you’d like to wear and which songs you’d like played. But if you don’t document and share your wishes, who will know?

Some people discuss their wishes with family or friends, but they don’t write them down. Others may just choose burial or cremation and think that’s all that’s needed.

Grieving family members may not remember what you said you wanted. They may disagree about what they think you wanted. Planning allows you to confirm every preference and make your choices known to family members. By documenting your plans with a funeral home—and letting your family know—you eliminate the confusion and take pressure off your family.

When you plan ahead, don’t forget one all-important detail: tell your family the name of the funeral home or cremation provider where you made arrangements, so they know whom to contact when the time comes. Also, some Canadian provinces allow only the executor named in your will to make funeral arrangements. That’s why it’s also important to make your written preferences for burial or cremation services known to your executor.

Mistake No. 3: Not paying for funeral arrangements in advance

In addition to making your wishes known and eliminating some of the stress on your family, planning ahead can save money. Like many things, funeral costs rise over time, and paying for them in advance lets you lock in today’s prices on many items. For example, if you pre-plan your celebration of life and choose a casket that costs $2,000, even if you don’t need a casket for 20 years, you’ve got a price guarantee. No matter how much the cost of that casket increases, you will never pay more than the original $2,000.

What’s more, a prepaid funeral plan helps ensure your family isn’t faced with financial hardship. Even if you’ve planned to pay memorial expenses through life insurance, those funds can take weeks or months to become available. Payment for a funeral is expected at the time of service, and not every family has thousands of dollars in cash on hand or a credit card to which it can be charged. Advance planning means less worry about money for your loved ones.

Bonus Mistake: Thinking your will has you covered

Many people believe that just because they’ve made funeral wishes known and allocated money for expenses in a will, that they’re covered. The reality is that a will may not be consulted until days or weeks after death. By then, your service may already have taken place, and funds may be tied up in probate for months. Planning ahead solves both.

We’re Here to Help

Losing someone you love can be very painful. Planning your funeral in advance makes it easier on your family. In fact, one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones is planning and funding final arrangements in advance, but not everyone understands how prepaid funerals work. We’re here to help.

Contact us today to find out more about the special savings and benefits available to CARP members and their families. Visit or call 1-866-668-1841. We are here to help.