When it comes to funerals, many people have said: “I have everything taken care of.” What they mean is: “I have a cemetery plot at xyz cemetery.” That’s it. Period. End of discussion.
This could be a start to the pre-planning process but there are so many more questions that need to be answered:
Who will make all of the decisions?
How will payment for services be handled?
What kind of a service?
Should there be a Traditional Burial Service?
Should there be a Cremation Service?
Where will the service take place?
Should there be a visitation?
What denomination of minister?
Should there be a wood or a metal casket?
Should the casket be open or closed?
Is a one day obituary enough?
What kind of music should be played?
Should there be a luncheon?
How many death certificates are needed?
There are so many questions that need to be answered by the next of kin, or by the executor, or by the person designated by an official declaration form.
Pre-planning is important as part of any long range planning. It can be part of a will. It can be hand written. To be most helpful to a family it should be done with a funeral director who will explain different options and then keep the choices on file. This will make it less stressful for the family to know they are carrying out their loved one’s wishes.
It doesn’t take a lot of time and it makes a world of difference.
“When my husband passed away, we had his services at Spicer Mullikin Funeral Home. In the midst of our grief, we found the people at the funeral home to be considerate and thoughtful of our feelings. They went out of their way to make sure everything we wanted done was accomplished and even had things available for our family that we had not even considered, never having had to make these decisions before. Afterward, I felt planning my own funeral in advance would be “a gift” I could give my family to make, hopefully, my passing a little easier for them. Spicer Mullikin was there with helpful suggestions and I found the whole process quite rewarding and I am confident that my wishes will be carried out.” ~ Pat H.
“After both my husband and my mother had died, I realized that there was no one left to carry out my wishes regarding my own funeral arrangements when the time came. It seemed to me to be the practical thing to do along with creating a will and writing an advanced health care directive. Bill guided me through the process step by step, asking me the kinds of questions that I would not have thought of on my own. I have been asked if making pre-arrangements for my own funeral was morbid; it was most decidedly not. It has given me peace of mind, knowing that my wishes will be followed and that no one has to guess at what I wanted. Over the years as the circumstances of my life have changed, I have updated the arrangements. Being able to do that, too, has been comforting and left me worry-free.” ~ Tanya L.
William E. King is a funeral director at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes. Bill is the Advanced Planning Manager and has 20 years of experience in the funeral industry. He received a BA from Loyola College Baltimore and later a Mortuary Science degree from the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville.