Welcome to your source for everything you need to know about funeral planning. Whether you want to create a basic funeral plan or plan all aspects of your funeral, we have advice and tools to help you from start to finish.
Here you’ll find:
- Explanations of the steps involved in planning a funeral
- Easy-to-use funeral planning tools and planning forms
- The pros/cons of preplanning and prepaying a funeral
- Tips on managing funeral costs
- Advice on how to plan meaningful funeral services.
Important: Do You Need to Make Funeral Arrangements Now? If you need to make arrangements for someone who has recently died or for whom death is imminent, visit our funeral arrangements page for step-by-step guidance.
Video: See the Wise Way To Do Your Funeral Planning
Funeral Planning: Step-By-Step
- Plan ahead. That’s the best thing you can do. Start with the basics: Interment choices (i.e., burial, cremation, donation to medical science, burial at sea); and Funeral Service choices (i.e., traditional funeral, memorial service, graveside service, no service).
- Estimate the cost of your funeral. Change your choices, if necessary, to reduce the expected cost.
- Share your plan with your family so they know your wishes. Pick a trusted family member, friend or advisor to be primarily responsible for carrying out your wishes. Start with your basic plan and then keep them updated as you add details over time.
- Specify the details of your funeral ceremonies. This is optional if you prefer not to go into the details. But keep in mind that it will be very helpful to those who will be making the final arrangements for your funeral. A Celebrant can help you plan the funeral ceremonies.
- Make financial arrangements to pay for your funeral. Figure out if you will be leaving behind enough money to cover the funeral cost and other final expenses. Consider funeral insurance, trusting, pre-purchasing cemetery space, and a pre-need contract for funeral services.
- Organize and document your key personal information. This will be essential for wrapping up your affairs and will be helpful to those who will be delivering eulogies and writing your obituary. Think about what you might want to leave behind for genealogy purposes. Future generations in your family will appreciate all of this information.
Funeral Planning with the Wise Planning System
Our Wise Planning System is a comprehensive do-it-yourself methodology that helps you plan your funeral the right way–YOUR WAY. Consisting of a set of easy-to-use online tools, the system organizes the planning process into 3 major steps and guides you along the way. It’s a proven method that puts you in control of your funeral plans and allows you to easily create, maintain and share your funeral plans. You can also assign “Plan Guardians” to serve as trustees for your funeral plan.
Get started with a basic plan. It’s quick and easy.
- Create a basic plan in minutes, including the most important selections.
- Get an instant cost estimate for your funeral plan.
- Get full access to more advanced funeral planning features.
- Don’t forget to save your Quick Plan!
Evolve your QuickPlan to the next level at your own convenience.
- Plan at your convenience, update or modify your plan at any time.
- Add plans for family members, including your spouse, parents or children.
- Assign Plan Guardians to carry out your wishes.
- Share your plan with family members and your legal advisors.
- Select funeral providers and products.
- Create your biography and share your legacy.
- Already have a plan?
Plan for your final expenses and safeguard your family's assets.
- Manage your funeral costs with our interactive pricing tool.
- Get advice from experts.
- Evaluate funeral products and services.
- Explore funeral payment options such as preneed funeral contracts, funeral trusts, and funeral insurance.
The Quick Plan is the first step and is a great way to jump start your funeral planning.
Prefer to work on paper? For those who prefer to put their funeral plans on paper, our Funeral Planning Form is the perfect place to start. This handy funeral planning checklist will help you compile all the information you need in one convenient location.
Funeral Planning Tips and Advice
- When to Plan Ahead: The best time to plan ahead for a funeral is any time except at the time of the funeral. After all, you wouldn’t try to plan a wedding in just a few days. A funeral is the ultimate celebration of your life. Planning ahead will give you the opportunity to decide what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. And best of all, you aren’t locked in. If you change your mind, just update your plan. Check out our article on Funeral Preplanning to learn more about how to get started.
- Funding Pre-planned Funerals: Deciding whether or not to fund your pre-planned funeral in advance can be confusing. There are a lot of good reasons to consider prefunding your funeral, and you’ll rest easy knowing the money is there when it’s needed. Even better, the burden will be taken off those you leave behind, and you can lock in prices.
- Changing Funeral Contracts: Be sure to carefully check ALL the terms of your pre-need funeral contract before you sign it. Some contracts allow for changes down the road while others do not.
- Prepaying Considerations: Like just about everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to prepaying for funeral goods and services. Whether or not it’s right for you will depend on your circumstances. You want to be certain that the arrangement you enter into will suit your needs down the road. Carefully read over all terms and conditions, including the fine print.
- For detailed planning of funeral or memorial services, you’ll find excellent advice in Funeral Ceremonies, and tips for writing Eulogies and Obituaries.
- Green Pre-Planning: Green burial is a relatively new option but it is becoming increasingly more popular. Pre-planning is the perfect time to investigate your options. Visit our Green Pre-Planning and Green burial sections so that you can be sure to explore all the options available to you.
How To Cover Funeral Costs
There are many elements that go into the cost of a funeral. From the services provided by the funeral director to the casket to the flowers, costs continue to rise. Today, the average funeral can easily top $8,000. Leaving behind no mechanism to pay for these items can place a heavy financial burden on your loved ones.
So how do you know how much to set aside and how to control the cost? The best way to manage your funeral costs is to do some advanced planning. Our Wise Planning System can provide you with instant cost estimates and guide you step-by-step through the process of making cost effective selections.
Our section on Funeral Costs will help you understand just what goes into the cost of a funeral and some of the financial and legal issues you need to consider.
Video: Funeral Planning Your Way
Find out the best time for planning a funeral and how to safeguard your family from the pitfalls of making your funeral arrangements. Watch our short video.
The Types of Funerals People are Choosing
Thousands of people have used our free online planning tools where we guide you step-by-step in making a few key choices about the kind of funeral you want as well as what that type of funeral usually costs. Below is a sample of the choices people are making so you can see you have lots of options to choose from.