We asked Australians if they believed people should have the chance to plan their own funeral or memorial service in advance. And despite almost all of them (90%) saying planning your own funeral was important, Australians usually leave the stress of funeral planning to others. That's why we made this Planning Your Own Funeral Checklist.
At Bare, we want to empower more Australians to ‘go their own way’ when the time comes to leave this mortal coil. Planning ahead means have your say in what you want for your final farewell while you’re still here to call the shots.
As part of our Funeral Insights Study, we surveyed Australians about their thoughts on funeral planning. An overwhelming 90% of respondents said people should have the chance to plan their own funeral in advance. Additionally, the same percentage believe the deceased’s wishes should be respected during the funeral planning process at the time of passing.
Benefits of planning your own funeral.
Our prepaid funeral customers tell us that planning your own funeral or memorial service provides peace of mind - for them and their families. Planning ahead can elevate some of the emotional and financial stress from loved ones later on. A prepaid funeral removes the vulnerability grieving family members often find themselves in when making substantial financial decisions on funeral planning.
Australians spend around $1.6 billion each year on funeral planning. Much of that cost is from heavily marked ups items like premium caskets and up-selling things people don’t need. Planning your own funeral allows you to pay only for what you want, removing the guesswork and leaving any leftover savings to your loved ones.
By planning your funeral or memorial service in advance, you can personalise your send-off the way you’d like. You can remove the guesswork and reduce the difficult (and expensive) decisions your family would need to make during a period of immense grief.
We’ve put together this Planning Your Own Funeral Checklist to help more Australians consider what they want from their final send-off. The more specific you are, the easier funeral planning will be for your family or executor.
You don't need to work through the Planning Your Own Funeral Checklist alone. Some families like to be involved in making the funeral arrangements together, while others prefer to do it alone and simply leave a list of funeral planning instructions.
To create your funeral planning instructions, consider each of the below bullet points. Copy out your responses to those that apply to you, either in a Word document on the computer or hand-write them on a sheet of paper.
To learn more about the advantages of prepaying a funeral or memorial service in advance, read our article Planning ahead vs ‘just waiting until later’.
How to plan a funeral checklist:
Key funeral details:
- Religious or agnostic? If religious, which religion and what religious elements should be observed?
- Burial or cremation?
- Do I want the coffin present for the service or an unattended burial/cremation with ceremony later?
- If burial, do I own a burial plot? Or do I have a preferred cemetery?
- Preferred funeral director? Do I have a prepaid funeral plan? (if no, consider one!)
- Do I have funeral insurance? If yes, who is the policy with?
- What kind of internment would I prefer? (burial in grave, cemetery garden niche, scattering, kept in an urn with family…)
If you do not have a prepaid funeral plan at this stage, consider planning ahead with Bare Cremation. Give us a call on 1800 202 901, or learn more about our Prepaid Funeral here.
Funeral service checklist:
- Do I want to stick to a specific budget?
- Location or venue of funeral/memorial ceremony (church/chapel, crematorium, my home, the pub, public space like a park or beach…)
- Location or venue of wake
- Type of service: traditional funeral ceremony; OR memorial/celebration of life after an unattended burial/cremation
- I would like a funeral service, followed by a graveside burial service; OR I would like only a graveside service, followed by burial
- I would like a funeral service, followed by a cremation; OR I would like an unattended cremation/burial with a separate ceremony at
- Any events or components I would like to include (butterfly releasing, tree planting ceremony, ashes set into fireworks)
- Any religious or ritualistic elements to include?
- I would like to observe my religion’s mourning events, which are ____________
Funeral planning personalisations:
- Any personal touches I would like at the service: guests to wear a specific colour or type of garment (like a hat); any memorabilia to be displayed
- Who will lead the ceremony: Priest/minister, celebrant, MC?
- Pallbearers (if required)
- Who will deliver the eulogy (consider writing your own!) and tributes?
- Readings or poems I would like read are _____________
- What photos would I like displayed?
- Songs/music/hymns I would like are ________________
- What catering would I like at the wake?
- I would like people to honour my memory by donating to ______________ instead of flowers
- Please invite __________ (group or organisation) to the funeral/memorial. Please contact ____________ (name and number)
- Please ensure _______________ (name and phone number), whom the family may not know, will be notified of my death and invited to my funeral/memorial
- I do NOT want _______________ (name) to attend my funeral/memorial
Once you have finished your funeral planning checklist, store it loosely with your Will if you have one. An envelope is good, but DO NOT staple it to any Will, as that can make your Will an invalid legal document.
Give a copy of your funeral plan instructions to your executor or a trusted family member, or at least let them know that the document exists and where to find it.
Learn more about why you should plan ahead in our articles 7 benefits of a prepaid funeral and Prepaid funeral plans: Planning ahead vs ‘just waiting until later’.
Let us help you with funeral planning on your terms – while you’re still here to call the shots. Give us a call on 1800 202 901 or click the link below.