Some people may find planning their own funeral difficult or morbid, while others may be comforted that it will be carried out according to their wishes and that their family or friends won’t have to guess what they would have wanted. Still others think that funerals are for the family, and should be organised by them. Some people decide they don’t want a funeral at all. This is a valid choice, but one that is worth discussing with your family and friends ahead of time.
What are the options?
Most people do have a funeral of some sort. It is probably not easy for most of us to hear or think about funerals. However, there can be a satisfaction in leaving your mark on the occasion, and also involving your family in the planning. If you feel you need to make preparations but you can’t do the work, or prefer not to, talk to a social worker or spiritual care practitioner who can help you.
You might simply discuss your wishes with your family, or you can record them in writing or lodge a plan with a funeral director of your choice. There are no rules.
You can personalise your funeral to meet your cultural or spiritual preferences. You may just have a few simple requests for music you want played or poems you’d like read, or you may have detailed plans for the full service.
Prearranging a funeral
To prearrange or prepay a funeral, talk to a funeral director. You can find a funeral director through the Australian Funeral Directors Association. Copies of a prepaid funeral contract should be provided to members of your family or filed with your will. If the funeral is not prepaid, payment is made once the service is conducted.
The Australian Funeral Directors Association has created the Your Goodbye website to help people who want to plan their own funeral.