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Planning for the Future: What You Need to Know about Memorial Planning

With consideration and organization, memorial planning can offer peace of mind

An older adult and their adult child walking together. Next Avenue
Credit: Getty

When it comes to final arrangements, it's never going to be easy. Thinking about the memorial service of a close relative, or even your own memorial service, is sure to be emotional — but it's something we should all think about sooner rather than later. For the sake of ourselves and our loved ones, it's important to plan for the future. 

Just because it's difficult doesn't mean that you have to take on the task of memorial planning by yourself. We've gathered everything you might need to help the memorial planning process. Making a plan can take the pressure off you or your loved ones, even if you're planning years or decades in advance. 

Memorial Planning Doesn't Have To Be Complicated 

There are many details that go into planning a memorial service. At the same time, however, memorial planning doesn't have to be described down to the very last detail. You can simplify the process by streamlining the planning into its major components. This can help you or your loved ones have a framework to start the memorial planning. 

The basic decisions always come first. Interment choice is important. The choice between burial, cremation or medical science donation will need to be made. Next comes the type of funeral services requested — a viewing, a memorial, a graveside service or a post-service luncheon.  

If you're a practicing member of a religion, you will want that noted. You may want a particular religious leader to speak, particular readings from religious texts or specific  songs or hymns. Or, you may prefer a more secular service. If so, you may wish to include a eulogy, some music playing or perhaps readings from a favorite author or poet.  

You could also dictate that there should be no service at all. 

Click here to learn more about how to plan a funeral

Handling the Financial Side of the Plan 

Memorial planning involves some serious number crunching. Typical end-of-life arrangements can run into thousands of dollars quite easily, but there are ways to control expected costs. Cremation can be a more affordable option than a traditional burial. The choice of casket, or the type of cremation receptacle, can impact the overall cost of a memorial service, as well as the memorial — such as a large headstone or flat marker. 

But where do you find the financial resources for such arrangements, even the more affordable options? If you're planning for another, you could allocate funds from their estate. While planning for yourself, you can likewise make stipulations in your will. You can also set aside funds for your final expenses. This can be as simple as taking out funeral insurance, or as detailed as signing a pre-need contract with a funeral home or purchasing a burial plot ahead of time. Services such as allow you to plan your memorial now and begin paying for it now as well, saving substantial money on inflation.  

Sharing Your Memorial Planning With Important People 

Crafting your memorial planning isn't complete until you share it with others. If you're planning on behalf of another or planning for yourself, it's just as important to ensure your loved ones are in the loop. This not only provides the opportunity to get feedback on your planning from other important people in your life, but also ensures these plans are known. This is especially relevant when you're planning your own memorial. 

It's understandable if you don't want to discuss your own memorial planning with all your loved ones. Instead, you can choose one family member you trust. If you're sufficiently close with someone outside your family, you can even share it with them instead — especially if you plan to have them in charge of things when it's time for your own memorial. Be sure to document everything well so your plans are not misinterpreted. 


Organize All Important Documents 

On a related note, it's crucial to keep all important documents organized, both for another's memorial planning and for your own. Keep all information in one place to make it easy to handle affairs so it will be much easier to do things like deliver a eulogy or write an obituary. 

These important documents should relate directly to memorial and burial arrangements, but they're not limited to just that. Including genealogical records or even correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other ephemera are all helpful. 

Did you know there is a difference between life insurance and burial insurance? Click here to learn more

Future-Proofing Memorial Planning 

It's not a requirement to ensure memorial planning involves specific details of how you want a ceremony to unfold, though it will be beneficial for anyone following these instructions. At the same time, it's important to build some leeway into your memorial planning, simply to plan ahead for any future events that are beyond everyone's control. It's this sort of future-proofing that can spell the difference between a memorial service going smoothly to one that adds stress to an already stressful process while people are grieving. 

Take into account any specific needs and desires while future-proofing. A good example, and one we know now, is how the coronavirus pandemic prevented large gatherings in many public and private spaces — including memorial services and funerals. Memorial planning that incorporates options for virtual or remote services if required, will help should such a need arise. 

Click here to read the top four reasons you should plan in advance

It's Time to Start Thinking About Memorial Planning 

It's a good idea to begin memorial planning early. It is, after all, the best way to commemorate someone's life and to celebrate their legacy. That means the benefit is not just for the person who's doing the planning — it's also beneficial for their loved ones. Taking time to plan ahead also means that changes can be made when and if necessary, in an environment where no one is pressed for time. Planning for yourself, even decades in advance, allows you to dictate how your life story should be told, and determine how you'll pay for it.  

Since it's easy to update a plan that's already in place, no one needs to worry about being committed to a specific course of action if situations evolve — or if sentiments change. A memorial plan you create for yourself, or on behalf of another, is always helpful — no matter how simple or complex it might be. 

Want to learn more about Memorial Planning? Click here to get a free guide and better understand your 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.

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