Next Avenue Logo
Sponsored By:

Conversations Around Planning Your Future

No matter how you look at it, future planning is always helpful

An older adult talking to their loved one. Next Avenue
Credit: Getty

When it comes to planning for the future, it's not necessarily an easy task. Thinking ahead means understanding that none of us are here for more than just a short time, and that's often an emotional subject, to say the least. Yet the truth is that there's never a bad time to begin having conversations about the future, especially your own, and even more importantly what you want your friends and family to do once you're no longer here. 

While planning for such eventualities might be difficult, it doesn't mean that you've got to shoulder this burden by yourself. In addition to talking to your closest loved ones about your plans, you can also rely on the following guide to help you prepare for the future. Let's take a closer look at what planning for your future looks like and what you'll need to consider. 

Planning for the Future Doesn't Have to Be Complex 

There's a lot that goes into planning for a future that no longer has you in it but you don't have to be  exhaustively complex or complicated with your plans. Creating a step-by-step list might provide plenty of guidance, but it's also going to be exhausting to create — not to mention even more exhausting to follow! 

Instead, focus on simple, streamlined planning by separating your future planning into a handful of major components. These include subjects such as preparing your finances so that your family can afford any final arrangements, the disposition of your estate through a will or some other legal instrument and the details of your memorial service if you wish to have one. This way, you can focus on one aspect at a time without feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. 

Financial Planning for Your Future 

Making sure your affairs are in order requires more than a little work. That's because typical end-of-life arrangements can often be quite expensive, even into the thousands of dollars, so controlling expected costs becomes important. Many of these costs are dependent on the final disposition of your body after you pass, and this is often the most expensive aspect of planning for your future. Choices between cremation versus traditional burial, not to mention the different aspects of each option, are many, and they all impact the amount of financial planning you'll have to do in advance. 

Finding the resources for these arrangements is, of course, the chief concern. You can plan ahead by ensuring that the language in your will ensures the resources are there and earmarked to be used appropriately. Barring that, you can easily set aside funds beforehand by signing a pre-need contract with a funeral home, purchasing a burial plot while you're still living or taking out funeral instance coverage ahead of time. 


Share Your Plans With Those Closest to You 

Your future planning activity isn't complete until you share those plans with others. Your loved ones need to be brought up to speed, and not just so that they're aware that you've done your future planning and there are plans in place for them to follow — your family members should also be given an opportunity to give you feedback on your plans as well. This is the only time your loved ones can ask for clarification. 

Discussing this with your loved ones is, of course, not easy. It's understandable if you're reticent to do so. However, it's important to have at least one trusted friend or family member that you can share your future plans with. This is often the case when you have someone in mind to be the executor of your estate or to handle your memorial services. This way, you ensure that the person who needs to know the fine details has the opportunity to talk to you about your plans at length before they have to carry them out. 

Document Everything 

Telling someone your plans is important, but you also need to have these plans written out and filed somewhere safe and secure. A good option is to file them with your attorney, with copies kept with the rest of your important personal documents like your birth certificate, your Social Security card, the deed to any property you own and other documents. 

These documents are likely to relate directly to memorial and burial arrangements, and are likely to be in the form of your will. There are other types of documents that you should keep safe and accessible as well, like genealogical records or even important ephemera like correspondence, newspaper clippings or photographs. 

Click here to learn what is an Advance Directive and how can it benefit you and your family. 

Details Regarding Memorial Planning 

Memorial planning is likely to be a major component of your end-of-life plans. You don't have to be highly specific in the details of your memorial ceremony, but the more detail you put into these plans the easier it will be for those you leave behind to follow those plans. Yet it's also important to incorporate some space in your memorial planning to account for unforeseen events that nobody could predict or control. This gives flexibility to your loved ones to work around possible problems with ease instead of having to scramble. 

Memorial planning is best employed to make note of any specific needs or desires. Consider how COVID-19 once made large gatherings in public and private spaces difficult or even dangerous. Funeral homes often had to hold virtual memorials or remote viewing as a result. Including the option of remote services is an excellent way to provide flexibility for people who can't make it due to being too far away to travel on short notice, for example. 

Click here to read – Gen Xers: it's not too soon to start thinking about burial planning. 

Start Planning for Your Future 

The sooner you begin planning for your future, the better. There's no bad time to begin the process, especially since the earlier you begin, the easier it will be to alter your plans when your desires or circumstances change. 

Also, remember that one of the core goals of this future planning is to make things easier for those you leave behind. The more flexibility you build into your plans, the easier time your loved ones will have taking care of these arrangements. This provides them with the ability to say goodbye to you properly without being mired down in clerical details. No matter how you look at it, future planning is always helpful, regardless of how simple or detailed those plans are. 

For more information on preplanning your memorial or to download a free planning kit, visit also offers articles on financial planning and different burial options:
By By StoneMor Inc.

Honoring your family is our life's work. As a family-first network of cemeteries and funeral homes, we aim to be an industry leader in celebrating and honoring a person's life in a way they want that story to be told., an on-line resource provided by StoneMor Inc., has everything you need to plan end-of-life services at both a time of at-need as well as in advance to secure the comfort of peace of mind.

Next Avenue LogoMeeting the needs and unleashing the potential of older Americans through media
©2024 Next AvenuePrivacy PolicyTerms of Use
A nonprofit journalism website produced by:
TPT Logo