There are so many things to consider when arranging a funeral. Golden Leaves funeral planning advice can help with every step.

How to Plan a Funeral

Planning a funeral can be stressful and overwhelming at an already emotional time. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to plan a funeral, which will help make the process a little easier.

At Golden Leaves, we think you are best placed to decide the kind of funeral you’d like. While this could be a difficult thing to consider, it can be a very positive action to take. It allows you to reflect on your life and the kind of send-off you’d prefer. Planning a funeral in advance will also help remove the emotional burden and some of the financial worry from your next of kin at a time in their lives when they are least able to cope.

Below you’ll find advice on getting started, choosing a funeral plan that’s right for you, information on the costs, and how to start the conversation. At the end of the article, you’ll find a link to our helpful funeral planning checklist for future reference.

How do I decide which funeral plan is right for me?

There are a variety of different funeral plans available, ranging from a cremation-only service to a more traditional funeral. You can choose the plan that best suits you or your loved one’s personal preference. Below we’ve outlined the differences between each plan if you’re unsure.

Cremation or burial

Religious and cultural beliefs, family tradition and personal preference can all play an important part in the decision to be cremated or buried, along with the feelings and opinions of family and loved ones.

Modern cremation reduces the body to its basic elements within a matter of hours compared to burial, which allows the process of slow and natural decomposition.

One of the key differences between burial and cremation is that the ashes are returned to the family following the cremation. With the location of the memorial tied to a grave, the family can choose whether to keep the ashes with them or scatter them in a memorable place.

Direct cremation service

Made popular by rock star David Bowie, direct cremation services are where the deceased is taken straight to the crematorium without a funeral ceremony. Bowie arranged a direct cremation before his death because, in his words, he wanted to “go without a fuss”. He also asked for his ashes to be scattered in Bali, Indonesia.

At Golden Leaves, our Copper Plan is a direct cremation service that allows you to have a fuss-free funeral like David Bowie. The plan guarantees payment of fees for funeral directors, cremation, and doctors. The funeral director will collect the body from the place of death, and the arrangements for the cremation and delivery of the remains to the family will be organised by you and your loved ones. There is no service, so your family can commemorate the passing whenever and however they choose.

Traditional funeral

Traditional funerals include a lot of the standard services you might expect, including the viewing, service and wake. These funerals are popular with those who want to celebrate their life with their loved ones. Additionally, the familiarity of a traditional funeral can offer a lot of comfort and reassurance at a difficult time.

Our range of traditional funerals allows you to decide exactly what kind of send-off you’d like. Choose from a range of different coffin choices and services to suit your budget. Have a look at our ‘About our Funeral Plans’ page for full details on our traditional funeral plans.

Personal service

It is possible to customise your funeral plan to ensure it celebrates your life how you want. Alongside our expert funeral planning advice, we can help you personalise your funeral to give you the send-off you’d like. To create a bespoke funeral, please call our team who will be happy to help with advice on any additions you’d like to add to your chosen plan. Our team will do their best to accommodate any additions that you require and will be able to advise on additional costs, including whether these need to be paid for now or added to your plan and paid for when the time comes.

Our team is used to a variety of requests, but we are typically asked to provide additions such as:
• Doves
• Horse and carriage (replaces the hearse)
• Extra limos or extra hearse to carry flowers
• Tractor hearses
• Bespoke coffin
• Alternative service location
• Bagpipers
• Fireworks

What costs are involved when you plan your funeral?

When planning your funeral, the cost will be an important factor to consider. When you plan a funeral in advance, you’ll take the emotional and financial burden off your loved ones when the time comes. As well as the cost of your funeral and wake service, there are other third-party costs to consider when planning your funeral.

Third-party costs are for things that are outside of the control of the funeral director. Examples include doctors’ charges, fees for church services and the minister, or to buy a burial plot or interment fees. Please note that your next of kin or estate may have to pay the balance for third-party costs if your chosen plan only includes a contribution and the costs of these are more than this amount.

How to talk about planning a funeral

Starting the conversation about how to plan a funeral is never easy. Nevertheless, there are significant financial and emotional benefits to planning your funeral ahead of time. The knowledge that your funeral is taken care of will be an immense comfort for the loved ones you leave behind.

Although having the conversation is difficult, you will know your loved ones well enough to decide if the direct or indirect approach is better.

The direct approach

This is best for families who are frank with one another and have a pragmatic outlook.

Make sure you pick the right time to start the discussion, while not forcing the conversation right away. Something like: “I’ve been thinking about my own funeral, starting to plan it and pay for it in advance, so that the responsibility won’t fall on your shoulders. Can we put some time aside to discuss it?”

If you need to speak to more than one person in the family, perhaps organise a family gathering and let everyone know in advance.

The indirect approach

Approaching the topic in a casual manner may be more appropriate for other families. Taking the opportunity to discuss funeral planning when it comes up organically, such as when a death occurs during a film or TV show, may be easier than directly bringing it up.

Ask open questions like “would you like to be buried or cremated?” and “where would you like to be buried”?. These questions can easily lead the conversation into talking about funeral planning.

Whichever approach you take, it’s possible that the conversation could be upsetting. Reassure your loved ones that you want to discuss planning your funeral because you love them and don’t want them to be burdened in the future. It’s best to have this conversation when you are well, but it’s still okay to discuss when you are in ill health. Holding the conversation at a time of calm, with no distractions or time restrictions, is important to help in making a decision about funeral planning.

The importance of planning your own funeral

After death, the person who is left to arrange your funeral has no legal obligation to follow the instructions you have left. There are many examples of arguments between remaining family members who disagree on the type of funeral – even between cremation and burial. If you have made advanced plans for your funeral, then this can be part of your legal will, so there is no doubt your plans will be carried out and there will be no reason for disagreement between the loved ones you’ve left behind.

Sharing your funeral details

When you take out a funeral plan with Golden Leaves, you will receive plan documentation. This document will outline all the specific services that are included in the plan that you have purchased. Copies of this documentation can be saved securely with your will and provided to your next of kin for ease of access.

When the time comes to plan a funeral, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve put together a handy funeral planning checklist for future reference.

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