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A quick checklist for funeral planning

Funeral planning should be part of your estate planning process if you want to make everything go smoothly for your children. This lets them know what you want -- and gives you a chance to consider the financial side of the plan. Leaving money to cover the costs of your funeral and directions to show your desires takes a lot of stress out of what is sure to be an emotional time.

As you do your funeral planning, here's a quick checklist of the basic things you need to address:

  • Type of service. Options include memorial services, traditional funerals and visitations.
  • Type of disposition. Options include cremation and burial.
  • Organ donation. This includes eyes and skin, along with your internal organs.
  • Personalization options. Consider things like music, flowers, pallbearers, speakers, prayers and more.
  • Burial options. Consider headstones, grave markers and eco-friendly burials.
  • Memorial donations. You may want people to donate to charity instead of giving gifts or flowers.
  • Burial locations. Options include private property, local cemeteries and the scattering of ashes. You may want to buy a burial plot.
  • Payment options. You may decide to pay in advance for services or put money aside that your heirs can use for that purpose.

Essentially, you just need to sit down and think about what you want your final arrangements to be like and what is needed to realistically make those goals happen. It takes money, of course, and it takes planning. By doing this in advance, you give yourself a lot of time to really consider the details. Make sure you know exactly what steps to take to get all your estate plans in place.

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