Critter Corner:  Important Things to Keep in Mind if You Are Planning Your Own Funeral 

Hayek 1Dear Hayek, 

A wedding celebrates a beginning, and a funeral acknowledges an ending. During both occasions, friends and family gather together to share an important event in someone’s life. I planned my wedding 40 years ago, and now I want to plan my funeral for when the time ultimately comes. What considerations should I keep in mind? 

Thanks for your help! 

Miles Stones 


Dear Miles, 

Similar to planning a wedding, many of us want a funeral that is personal and connects the ceremony to those who are being celebrated/remembered. Creating this type of special event takes some planning and thought. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are thinking about planning your own funeral:  

  • Planning a funeral can present an opportunity to reflect on a life well-lived.  
  • Your funeral can be as simple or as elaborate as you like; go all out or keep it simple and stick to a modest budget. It’s entirely up to you. Planning ahead gives you the power to decide for yourself the type of burial (if you want one), service, and reception that is best for you. 
  • You don’t have to break the bank to have a meaningful funeral. Planning ahead is your best defense against the spending traps that can befall you or your loved ones when making decisions during an emotional time. 
  • Be sure to set a budget. A budget helps you evaluate how the cost of individual items will impact the amount you have in mind.  
  • Funerals (a.k.a. celebrations of life) give your friends and family the opportunity to gather together to share memories, stories, and remembrances. Whether it is a heartfelt toast or an emotional eulogy, those who care about you want the chance to participate and support each other. With so many families spread from place to place, it is more important than ever to offer those who are grieving the chance to support each other. 
  • Don’t forget to share your plans with your family so that when the time comes they know what you want. 
  • Funerals are replete with symbols like flowers and often make use of music, readings, poems, or scripture to convey messages about the occasion and the person being remembered. 
  • Chances are the ceremony you envision is based in large part on the traditions of your religion (if any), culture, and family. In most cases, it is perfectly acceptable to mix traditional and modern elements. Your celebrant (or a funeral planner if you can find one — see today’s other article) can help guide you in determining what is appropriate in your particular circumstance. 

If you have specific preferences for the disposition of your remains and the nature of your funeral services, you can clearly express them in your funeral plan. Once you set up your plan and complete your estate planning documents with an experienced estate planning attorney, you can rest assured that your funeral will be done in a way that will be special and memorable. And, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your loved ones will know — and hopefully follow— exactly what you wanted. 

Hope this is helpful, 


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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