Planning for our own deaths can feel scary and uncomfortable, no wonder many Canadians tend to avoid these important life tasks, like making a will. We’ve partnered with our friends at Arbor Memorial to guide you through the process of pre-planning and selecting your funeral and burial wishes.

Why Should You Pre-Plan?

Pre-planning your final wishes is a great way to offer additional peace of mind for your loved ones during what will already be an emotional and stressful time. Like making a will, taking the time to make a plan and create a blueprint for your family can have many benefits in the long run. Some benefits of pre-planning include:

  • Lower costs: Pay today’s price to avoid inflation
  • Reduce financial burden: Help loved ones avoid sudden financial expenses (life insurance may not always be immediately available)
  • Alleviate stress and uncertainty: Making a plan in advance can reduce the stress of planning during grief
  • Peace of mind: Be certain your wishes are honoured and know your loved ones will not be burdened

Once you’ve decided to start the pre-planning process, here are some steps you can take:

1. Explore Your Options

The options for your end of life plans are truly endless. Like any other important life decision, one of the first steps in your planning process should be exploring all the options available to you.  Do you want to be cremated or buried? Not everyone wants a traditional funeral with a religious service.  Some people prefer a more unique send off.  Arbor’s Time to Remember is a fully customizable modern alternative.This exclusive new resource will help you reflect on your story and plan an event that honours you and your loved ones in a meaningful way

Funeral homes such as Arbor Memorial can help walk you through all the options available to you

2. Consider Your Needs

After familiarizing yourself with the options available, you should weigh these options against the needs of you and your loved ones. The plan you put together will reflect how you want to be remembered, so you want to ensure the plan yo

Some important questions to ask yourself include:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want your family and loved ones to be easily able to visit?
  • Are there any cultural or religious traditions that you would like to follow?
  • Do you have any family traditions?
  • What are the plans for your spouse? Would you like to be together after you’ve passed?
  • What kind of celebration of life/ceremony would you prefer?

3. Create A Unique Plan

Once you’ve decided what you’d like your final arrangements to be, it’s important to put a plan in place. You may want to consider working with a funeral specialist to help put your plan into motion. You’ll be able to finalize decisions such as picking ceremony types, choosing a final resting location and placing orders for items like urns, caskets, and monuments. At this time, you can also decide if you’d like to pre-pay or make a payment plan. The more you’ve done in advance, the less stress and burden will be placed on your loved ones after you’ve passed away. Working with a specialist is a great way to ensure you haven’t missed anything in the planning process. 

However, depending on your wishes, you may simply want to record your wishes in a document or in your will, so there is a blueprint ready for your loved ones to follow. Regardless which option you choose, know that having any sort of plan in place is better than no plan at all.

4. Record And Share Your Wishes

Once you’ve made a plan, one of the most important things you can do is to communicate your wishes with your loved ones. According to an Angus Reid study commissioned by Willful, 2-in-3 Canadians do not know the end-of-life wishes of their spouses or parents. Not only is it important to communicate what you’d like but also where you’ve stored this important information. 

Many people choose to include their funeral and burial wishes along with their wills. If you choose to do this, you should let your loved ones know that this is where you’ve stored your plans, in case the will is not read until after the funeral.

It’s important to note that funeral and burial wishes are not a legally-binding part of a will, but generally if you make a plan, your loved ones are likely to follow them.

About Arbor Memorial Inc.

Arbor Memorial is a trusted family-owned Canadian company with deep roots in diverse communities across the country. Established in 1947, Arbor has over 130 locations, and 24 of our cemeteries have full-service funeral homes on premises, offering complete service to families.  Learn more about Arbor Memorial here