Write Your Own Life Script: Pre-planning Your Memorial Service Now

What is the definition of planning? Every day, we plan something: what to have for lunch or where to go for summer vacation. Yes, I understand some people prefer to go through life and just deal with things as they come up; however, most try to develop a plan for the bigger events in life. We begin a college savings fund for our children when they are barely home from the hospital. We buy insurance for our personal property. And, of course, Dads start a wedding fund in their daughter’s early years so he can give her the wedding of her dreams. 

As we mature, and the weddings are paid for and the college funds well-spent, our priorities shift and we begin to think about our own lives and how important it is to be certain we have “planned” for everything we need.  We ensure that our retirement fund is enough for us to maintain our lifestyle. We have our health insurance or Medicare so we are able to visit the doctor without draining our bank account. We purchase life insurance so our spouse and/or kids are taken care of in the event something should happen to us. So now, can we really take a deep breath and know, as my mother used to say, that “I have all my bases covered”?

Maybe not. That other “base” involves a detail many of us do not care to think about: ensuring our final wishes are planned out and paid for.

Pre-planning one’s final wishes addresses two components: the emotional and financial. This is your chance to tell your spouse and children how you want to be remembered. Perhaps you want your celebration to be held at a certain park or for celebration attendees to wear red in honor of your favorite football team.

This is your opportunity to write the script on how you want your years on Earth to be remembered. There’s no better gift to give your loved ones than to do this in advance.

In my 23 years as a funeral director, I have never had a family member say, “I sure wish my loved one had not pre-planned their celebration.” In fact, usually the opposite.

It’s just as important to handle the financial component of pre-planning your funeral. Many believe their life insurance will be enough to handle their final wishes. However, the cost of final expenses continues to rise, with a median funeral cost of $8,755, per the National Funeral Directors Association 2017 survey—an increase of $247 since 2014. And this does not include a cemetery space or monument. There are two great benefits to funding your pre-planned celebration now: you or your loved ones can lock in the prices of today’s charges at the funeral home and cemetery of your choice and monthly payments can be made to relieve some of the financial burden. 

So, while our mortality may not be something we like to think about, shouldn’t we take the time to sit down today to plan and fund our life’s celebration? Resthaven Funeral Home and Memory Gardens, 500 S.W. 104th St., in Oklahoma City, is one of the metro’s premier funeral homes and cemeteries. We’ve had the honor of helping people plan their celebrations since 1947. Our advance-planning team would welcome the chance to sit down with you and your family in the comfort of your home or at our office to share with you your options. Call us at 691.1661 to begin planning today.  

Jeremy Sparks is the funeral director and managing partner of Resthaven Funeral Home and Memory Gardens.