Your Guide to Choosing and Documenting End-of-Life Arrangements

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    In the back of our minds, chances are, most of us have at least a half-baked idea of how we want to be laid to rest. But, when it comes to end-of-life planning, having a fully-fledged and concrete idea of what your plans will be is not only beneficial for you but for your loved ones as well.  

    We get it - this is a subject that can be tough to think about, let alone talk about with loved ones.  It may be challenging to think about dying and what you want from it, and you do indeed have a lot of hard choices to make. But, by taking the time to plan for end-of-life arrangements such as what type of funeral you want and if you want to cover costs using funeral insurance, it can bring you peace of mind to know your wishes will be honoured and that your loved ones will be left with a structured plan to follow, ultimately lowering their stress.

    By making the necessary arrangements and having them written down or documenting them through services such as Willful, you can reduce any confusion or conflict around your end-of-life choices. We’ve partnered with Eirene to help you better understand and choose your end-of-life arrangements.

    Choosing a final resting place

    The type of burial or final resting arrangement you choose is a deeply personal decision. There are a myriad of things you must consider, from religious, cultural and familial preferences. Things such as your financial situation will also impact your decision. 

    Like all decisions related to any large life arrangements, it’s in your best interest to weigh out all your options thoughtfully. Remember, the choices you make early on are essential for how your memory lives on. Depending on your personal desires and wishes, the only “right” choice is the one that fits you best. 

    Factors to consider 

    To begin, ask yourself the following questions:

    • Do you want to be laid to rest near or with your family members?
    • Are you looking for a traditional burial? Or do you want a different, new type of burial such as a green one? 
    • How important is it to you that the resting place be easy on the environment?
    • Do you prefer an indoor, outdoor space?
    • Do you envision your loved ones being able to visit your resting place?

    Burial options to Consider

    Now that you’ve started thinking about the arrangements you’d like to make, go a bit deeper with these considerations. 

    In-ground options for a cremation urn or casket:

    It’s easy to immediately think of a casket and an in-ground burial as your first option when end-of-life planning. This is very prevalent in North American society. However, in-ground burials are also an option for those who choose cremation. If you have chosen to be cremated via a service such as Eirene, you can have your cremated remains buried in a special urn. Generally, if you select this route, most cemeteries require that you purchase an additional burial or urn vault lining made of concrete. These linings help protect the container in case of any shifts in the earth or ground collapse. 

    You also have a few different options for burial spaces: 

    • Urn plot: this is a smaller, specially designated plot for the burial of cremation urns
    • Single burial plot: used for single person burial, in a casket or in an urn.
    • Double or companion plot: either a double-depth plot or two single plots that sit side-by-side. With double depth, the second to pass is laid to rest on top of the first. 
    • Family plot: larger than a double plot, this one is large enough to restrain an entire family. Preparations must be done well in advance for this choice.

    While not obligatory, you can also purchase a monument or a memorial marker for your resting site. Often, most in-ground burials are accompanied by a funeral or similar service.

    Above-ground options for a cremation urn or casket:

    If you’re choosing above-ground or entombment as your final resting place, you have options, too:

    • Mausoleum: designed to house a casket or an urn, mausoleums are standalone, climate control buildings built to house remains above-ground. You can choose to purchase a private building for you and your family or a space inside a larger, shared community mausoleum.

    • Columbarium: similar to a mausoleum, a columbarium is a building or wall structure designed as a series of niches that houses cremation urns.

    • Lawn Crypt: these structures are built above-ground and feature a drainage system built below the structure. Caskets are placed inside, and the lawn crypts are covered with grass, allowing for the crypt to blend into the environment.      

    Alternative options:

    Not interested in the options above? If you opt for something less traditional, here are your options:

    Burial at Home: some areas allow you to be buried or entombed at home or in a family cemetery plot. To learn more about this, consult your municipal government or a licensed funeral director to see if you can obtain a permit for either.

    Green Burial: more and more people are opting for this choice. Eco-conscious options are more widely available. From becoming a tree, to cremation, or simply being more environmentally aware while planning, check out your options here


    Services like, Eirene, provide accessible, flexible and simple direct cremations. When you choose to cremate, you have limitless options for how your remains are handled, and ultimately, how your legacy lives on. In addition to traditional options that include urn burial or scattering, you can go an alternative route and choose to have your remains turned into fireworks, launched into space, turned into precious gemstones or even buried in an ocean reef. The sky's the limit.

    How To Share Your Plans With Loved-Ones:

    Once you’ve made your decision, it’s important to have a conversation with your loved ones about your final wishes. Even if death seems far off, by communicating your plans, you can help reduce stress and confusion for your family after your death. You may also want to write down your wishes and store them with your will, so your loved-ones can easily revisit your preferred plans at the time of your death. With Willful, you can include funeral and burial wishes directly in your will.

    While these are not legally-binding clauses in your will, if they’re included, your family is more likely to follow them. Wills, unlike living trusts, are important documents because they cover multiple aspects of estate planning such as these wishes.

    Ultimately, the choice is up to you, and there are many options that can help you choose what fits you best.  

    When it comes to creating concrete, solid plans around your wishes, it’s important that you go beyond just making a mental choice. Ensure that you’ve put pen to paper and written down your wishes, in addition to communicating them with your family. While the decisions can be scary, working with service providers like Eirene and Willful can make the process easier so you can guarantee peace of mind for yourself and your loved-ones.

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