Have any of you done pre-planned funeral arrangements for family? Did it make it easier in the end?

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Last week we made preplanned funeral arrangements for my Mom, after discussing with family the type of funeral we wanted to have. I contacted 3 homes to get quotes and specific details. The price ranges between the three were wide for the same services.

it just seemed like the right thing to do as I wouldn't want to have to make those arrangements in the emotions of the moment. Saw how that went with my MIL and it wasn't pretty or cheap. Some advantages to prearranging the funeral are that it will fix the costs; everyone knows in advance what and how the services will proceed; if Mom passes at home, I can call the funeral home directly and they will pick her up and take her to the coroners office to have her pronounced.

Making these arrangements in advance took one more background stressor out of my life. Just wondering if others have done the same and if it made things easier in the end?

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We have done that for my Mom, my Dad had everything paid and ready when he passed and it did make things a little easier. He even had a folder with his passwords and military documents ready for us.
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My sweet mother-in-law passed three weeks ago and we are so thankful she planned and prepaid for the funeral. She even wrote the obituary, selected pallbearers, songs to be sung ect. This took so much stress off the family and we know her wishes had been met.
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okay, here is a slightly funny story and a very serious story about this. i learned when i was only 19 and just coming out of the closet during the early days of the AIDS epidemic about the importance of having final arrangements made, because family situations are complicated in the best of circumstances, and relatives and emotions tend to pop in from nowhere at the last minute and have legitimate concerns at a tragic time. Having as much in writing as possible is really one of the kindest things a person can do. Also, I recently helped a dear friend say goodbye to her brother who suffered a massive stroke, and was a week and a half in the hospital, declining. Since he had his paperwork in order, the doctors were VERY relieved about what to do. He wanted a trial run of the most aggressive treatments, and when it became clear that those were not working, he wanted them stopped. The doctors took time to explain the treatments to his sister, and his sister had time to say her goodbyes. He was not in pain. His funeral was planned the way he wanted, and this brought great comfort to his family and friends. So, the funny (sort of in a morbid way) story is, I had JUST completed a pre-paid plan for myself and, since there was a sale, ordered a second plan for my spouse, who is in frail health and for whom I am POA. It kind of creeped me out that they mailed us our urns....I am disabled, but I am only 47 years old, hopefully not going to be needing one for quite a long time. my spouse is much older than me, and very sensitive about aging issues. I was searching for the right time to mention about the plan, but also needing to get things in order because finances are tight. Kind of one of those do it and then beg pardon later things. At any rate, I was watching the post box, waiting for these two urns, because I did NOT want Spouse to get the mail before we had a chance to talk about what a great price I got on the cremation. (and the urns could be exchanged later if someone wanted a different one, so it wasn't a really big deal, other than really, what do with them in the meantime....I mean really....put them in the linen closet? how strange, right?) So four or five days into the waiting, daughter in law calls, there was a death in the extended family and they needed to spend the night for a few days, with the grandson and the dog and a few distraught family members. Of course, we were more than happy to have them come. They were less than twenty minutes away, and we were just finishing the last minute preparations for their arrival, when there is a knock at the door. You guessed it. The urns arrived. Signature required on delivery. My spouse, who happened to be also having a birthday that day, and who is starting to show signs of a more easily confused and possibly early dementia brain said, "oh you bought me something special!" "Yes, I did." I said. "Close your eyes for a second" Just like a little kid, he put his hands over his face, I was able to sign for the packages and whisk them under the bed in less than two minutes flat. No sooner did I shoo the post office delivery clerk out the door than the family arrived. I enlisted the grandson to go with me to the store, where we purchased a replacement surprise for my spouse, and fortunately, everyone was ok singing happy birthday to grandpa, in spite of the funeral they had come into town to attend. Talk about close calls. About a month later, I got the opportunity to tell him about the preplanned funeral, which of course was dismissed as a "waste of money".....BUT....the amount paid counts toward the medicaid spend down, so it wound up turning out ok on that point as well. And the urns are carefully placed on a shelf, out of sight, out of mind...........
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My mom has preplanned hers and it gives me piece of mind.
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I think pre-planning avoids a lot of stress, confusion, family members chirping in their opinions and wants. There is enuf to deal with after someone passes as it is. We went thru this when my 2 brothers and my mom passed. When my mom passed, it was out of state from where their gravesites are, it was mass confusion to try to get her body/casket flown back and delivered into the backwoods of a small town in WV. Never again with the 'what do we do, what needs to be done' worries.
We have also encountered this with my sister, father in law, others who have passed and no planning was done, mass confusion, too many people either wanting to help or backing off, leaving the bereaved child or spouse to do it themselves.
My father is 90, late stage ALZ and Dementia, and is under Hospice care. He bought his plot, vault, headstone over 20 years ago which is beside my mother. A lot of funeral services now show a slideshow of the person's life, so we have already picked out the pictures we will use and put them on a CD, his favorite songs to be played have been chosen, color and type of flowers for the service. His bio has been prepared for the newspaper obituary along with the picture that will accompany the obit. If you don't have a preacher or rabbi or church who knows you intimately, you need to prepare notes for them, that's also done. Do as much as you can NOW. Think of the funerals you have attended including any 'after' events such as having extended family over for a meal, plan for that also. Know where ALL the paperwork is, ALL the paperwork. If nothing else, have copies made for you the caregiver. Also find out who needs to be contacted after: Social Security office, any pension plans, utility bills, credit cards, bank, magazine subscriptions, pharmacies that do auto refills, newspaper delivery, the list goes on...Get a copy of your loved one's calendar and a list of their friends addresses and phone lists. Buy stamps for the thank you cards. I know it sounds morbid, but you can get a roll of the peel-n-stick address labels and computer generate the addresses and have those ready to put on the front of the Thank You cards, then trash the ones you won't need. Make a list of what will need to be done, add or delete as needed, but you cannot be too prepared.
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Yes Absolutely! Both my parents and my inlaws prepaid for their funeral arrangements through PURPLE HEART, A service which covers most of the costs upfront and maintains the costs at today's prices. It made things so much easier for the 3 who have already passed, and leaves you to write the service without all those other decisions, which can become so very expensive and impulsive when you are so devastated with grief. I plan to do this as well with my husband soon.
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I have a different take on this question.
My mom passed away when I was 17, with just Dad and I left at home.Mom and Dad had bought cemetery plots when I was little, after my brothers had moved to other parts of the country, each near their inlaws. We got the call from the hospital at breakfast one morning, and spent the day going to the hospital, the funeral home, the church, the casket place, the cemetery. Dad had a pretty good idea what they wanted, but that day that I spent with my Dad was a day I will never forget, and I was able to have some input. . When Dad passed five years later, I was out of the country and unable to get home, but my brothers dealt with it, using Mom's funeral as a guideline, but again, they appreciated having some input as well. I think it is good to have general ideas as to what someone wants, but the surviving family should be able to be involved,, as they are the ones who are there. When my husband died, we knew where he wanted to be buried, and my kids and kids-in-law and I again spent a day setting it all up. Our pastor and my cousin's husband, a pastor who was a good friend of ours, basically set up the service with our cooperation.
The thing I appreciated about doing this pretty much on the spot is that we could deal with the realities as to who and what was available, and the biggest thing is that it KEPT US BUSY doing something necessary and useful! Having a church family to work with helped a lot, as well.
If the families are able to work together, and clearheaded enough to keep from getting pulled into excessive expenses,it can be a memorable family experience.
I've been involved in singing for at least four family and friend's funerals, two of them in small groups put together at the last minute, and was delighted to be included. When it becomes necessary, my kids have the experience of what we did for their dad; as well as their extended families and our church family. .
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One more thing...since it was prepaid, when mom died it was so easy. We just called the funeral home and they picked her up at the hospital, did what they needed to do, including giving dad a half dozen copies of her death certificate. We picked up her ashes when they called a few days later and that was all there was to it. It gave us plenty of time to grieve mom and have a memorial for her at home.
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My parents prepaid for their cremations. It worked for my mom, but now my dad is living in a different state with two states to drive through to get to the funeral home. It would probably be just as much to use one of the Texas budget cremation services (650.00) for dad as it would paying for preparing and paperwork to take dad to that funeral home.

When dad first moved out of state to be near my brother after mom died I called the funeral home and discovered they had prepaid for an insurance policy in case something like this should happen. It should cover the budget cremation along with some left over, so you might look into insurance if you think there might be a chance of them changing states.

It's was always my parents wish that their cremated remains be mingled and spread out over a large lake somewhere (they spent their lives boating, fishing and loving the water). There was no burial place so the insurance was probably quite reasonable. Dad's keeping mom's ashes safe until the time comes that they are reunited again. I think that's soooo sweet.
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My parents discussed their end of life wishes before my father fell ill and it was such a godsend. They chose to be cremated and then buried in my mother's burial plot which she got from her parents. So Dad was cremated but the funeral was a beautiful combination of my father's wishes (mainly non religious) and my mother's wishes (religious). Mom's church family continues to sustain her as my father passed about 6 weeks ago. Dad is now sitting in the study - appropriately next to his cd player - as he loved his music. when I am in there on his computer i say Hi. Pre-arrangements take so much stress off the people left behind.
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