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Estate planning topics: Planning one's own funeral

One of the most appealing aspects of creating an estate plan is having the ability to clearly outline one’s wishes. A great deal of confusion, misunderstanding and tension can arise after the death of a loved one, and spelling out one’s wishes in a clearly constructed estate planning package can help ease those sources of stress. In this regard, planning one’s own funeral is one of the most important gifts that a New Jersey resident can give to his or her loved ones.

Handling one’s own funeral planning ensures that the service will be conducted in line with an individual’s wishes. For some, this means adherence to religious traditions. For others, it means that loved ones will attend a service that celebrates the life of the individual who has passed on, and is upbeat in nature. Regardless of the tone one wishes to strike with the gathering, handling the details ahead of time allows family members to avoid the rush of planning and decision-making that often accompanies the death of a loved one.

Most funeral homes have packages in place that allow individuals to select the goods and services that will shape their own funeral service. The basics of how one wants their remains handled is the starting point, and clients can outline their wishes in detail. The next step often includes choosing a casket or urn. From that point forward, the client can add as many details as he or she would like.

Some include favorite religious passages or literary quotations that they would like to be used within the service. Others write their own obituaries or provide a playlist of music to be used within the funeral. This is an area in which individuals can be as creative as they desire, and can structure a funeral that is truly a celebration of their life and accomplishments.

As with any type of estate planning, advance funeral preparation is nothing short of a gift that is given to those who will be left behind. Having these plans already in place and outlined in writing allows close family members the ability to make a few simple phone calls to begin the process of remembering their loved one. For many in New Jersey, a well-constructed estate plan provides the guidance needed to get through what can be a very difficult time.

Source: nwi.com, "ESTATE PLANNING: Hitch a ride", Christopher W. Yugo, July 26, 2014

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