With the cremation rate steadily increasing over the last 50 years, it’s only natural that more people are looking into this end-of-life decision instead of the traditional full-body burial. Besides being cost-effective, it is also ecologically sensitive and gives you more choices on where you are going to “rest in peace.”
No matter if you’re planning ahead or need to make decisions right away, there are four people or groups you should talk to when making final arrangements: a Funeral Professional, an Estate Lawyer, and your Family. You will want to make sure you know all the benefits and disadvantages of this process. Finally, you will want to make sure your family knows and will follow through with your wishes.
1. Funeral Professional
To get a true understanding of the cremation process, including costs and burial options, you need to speak with a funeral professional such as funeral director or an expert in cremation services.
A funeral professional can help you understand all your choices. Besides typical funeral arrangements, a funeral professional can help you choose a crematorium and let you know how and when the process will occur. You can even start planning your cremation from the comforts of your home via the Internet. Funeral experts will help you make arrangements according to your budget and needs. Once you’ve picked out a package and made the arrangements, you can sit back and relax that this task is taken care of and your relatives don’t have to worry about it.
2. Estate Lawyer
Funeral planning plays a large part of the arrangements you make for your estate when die. An attorney specializing in estate planning can help you figure out how big of a part it needs to be and the legalities surrounding your decision to be cremated. Some of the things an estate attorney can help you with include:
- Finances: An attorney can help you figure out how much you have to spend on your cremation and other final arrangements, as well as determining if you have any funeral assistance from a life insurance policy or veterans’ benefits. This will alleviate the financial burden placed on a relative after you die.
- Understand the law: Cremation is subjected to certain state laws that are in place to regulate where ashes can be buried or scattered. For instance, distributing ashes on private property is normally allowed, but is forbidden in public places such beaches or parks. There are also laws in some states governing who can request a cremation. Most cremations are requested in a health-care power of attorney, a witnessed will, a living will or last letter of instruction. If your relatives disagree with your wishes and you haven’t made them known in writing, they may do whatever they want with your remains.
- Funeral rule: The Federal Trade Commission oversees the cost of funerals, and under its funeral rule, you can purchase whatever type of services and products you want for you or your loved one’s funeral. You can purchase only what you need without being pressured into buying more. The FTC also prohibits funeral directors from making unrealistic promises or preying on the emotions of loved ones.
3. Care Provider
If you are or will be under the care of a provider or caretaker, you or your family will want to make your wishes about what to do with your body known. Usually when entering an elder care facility, questions regarding what the center should do if you pass away are asked. At that time, you are normally required to give the name of a funeral home who will handle your arrangements. This is a good time to find one that will handle your cremation request. You can make all your plans including purchasing an urn, if you desire.
If you are aging in a place with the aid of a caretaker, it’s important for that person to know your final wishes. This is especially true if you don’t have any close family members or friends to help with the final arrangements after you pass away.
It is up to you when you want to talk to your family about your final arrangements. Some people prefer to have this discussion before you even start talking to funeral professionals, while others wait until all the arrangements are already made.
How your family reacts to your wish of being cremated might differ depending on their religious beliefs or other factors. Regardless of their feelings about cremation, it is important for you to put your desires in writing so there is no confusion over what to do with your remains once you die.
Overall, cremation is now a common choice for those planning ahead. To ensure your family and loved ones know what to expect and what to do after you pass, it is always a good idea to start planning now.