Table of Contents
- Personal Reasons to Preplan Your Final Wishes
- Benefits of Cremation Preplanning
When you think of end-of-life matters, you may have already planned your services down to the last detail. However, if you are like most people, you likely haven’t thought about or begun to plan for these important decisions.
Cremation preplanning allows you to put together a plan for cremation long before your passing. You can organize numerous benefits, choose a final resting place, plan a memorial, and more.
By prepurchasing a bundled package of services and merchandise, you may save money as opposed to buying each service separately. Read on for more information on why preplanning cremation may be the right choice for you.
Personal Reasons to Preplan Your Final Wishes
No matter what type of end-of-life service you choose, you want the story of your life to be remembered and honored in the best way possible. This is the final opportunity for your legacy to be remembered, and you do not want to leave any aspect of it undone.
Economical Considerations When Preplanning End-of-Life Arrangements
Cremation offers you a more affordable option than burial. You will be able to preplan your expenses so that your loved ones do not have to bear these unnecessary financial demands at an already stressful time.
Preplanning Removes the Burden from the Family
The loss of a loved one brings myriad emotions. Making difficult decisions about how to handle end-of-life services can bring up questions and struggles under even the best of circumstances. By preplanning your cremation, you can alleviate the burden for your loved ones after you pass. This allows them to grieve in peace and celebrate your life. They can spend time honoring your memory instead of worrying about how to organize your final affairs.
Environmental Aspects to Consider When Making Final Arrangements
When compared with a traditional burial, cremation provides a gentle option for the planet. Environmental impacts related to burial include embalming, the use of land space, and the use of flowers. The effects of cremation include the use of fuel and gas, scattering ashes and keeping ashes in the home.
Minimize Family Conflict During A Time of Loss
Your family should spend time celebrating you and your life. By stating your wishes and preplanning your cremation, you can avoid future family disagreements during this sensitive time.
When you preplan legal matters related to the end of life, it reduces the likelihood your children or loved ones will argue about what to do. You will have already worked through these matters and drawn up your plans, which can minimize the pain of the loss that comes with bereavement.
Be aware that your loved ones can face many reactions and emotions. They will each need a solid support system and should take time for themselves. Grief takes many forms, including:
- Shock and feeling numb
- Overwhelming sadness
Grief can also trigger various physical and emotional reactions, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- General aches and pains
- Difficulty sleeping
- Labored breathing
- Overall anxiety
- Upset stomach
- Panic attacks
Each of your loved ones should have an opportunity to express their concerns. While they might not agree, they will all be able to provide input. In some cases, your loved ones might want to combine a more traditional memorial service or an event at a restaurant with a cremation service. As long as they follow your wishes, they can add another event as part of the grieving process. Similarly, they might each want to say their own eulogy in addition to the person that you have assigned.
Benefits of Cremation Preplanning
Preplanning cremation offers several significant benefits, including flexibility, environmental friendliness, affordability, and portability.
Cremation Allows for Flexibility in Choosing a Final Resting Place
Cremation preplanning gives you great flexibility, such as:
- Options for cremation service styles, lengths, and locations
- No rush to schedule and plan a service – you can hold ceremonies, services and celebration-of-life events at any time after cremation to allow loved ones time to travel and participate.
- Various alternatives for memorialization
- Final resting place options
Some options for a final resting place include:
- Cemeteries – Traditionally used for burials, but cremated remains can also be scattered in designated areas within cemeteries, inurned in a niche, or even buried.
- Sea scattering – You might wish to specify that your ashes be scattered at sea after cremation. Be sure to follow the legal guidelines set forth by the federal government.
- Memorial reefs – Provides a place to deploy or scatter cremated remains; one example is the Neptune Memorial Reef off the South Florida coast. Your loved ones can swim, dive, or snorkel below the ocean surface in your honor, along with the teeming marine life.
- Mausoleums – A type of crypt, or place with entombed human remains.
- Columbarium – A freestanding structure or sometimes a room at a church or cemetery with recessed compartments to place containers with the cremated ashes. Memorabilia and photos can be used to personalize this spot. This provides a place for loved ones to visit to remember the deceased.
- Home décor– Cremated remains can be converted into a home memorial, such as a special sculpture or bench. Other available home décor options include clocks, lamps, figurines, fountains, personalized containers, sundials, and more.
- Keepsake/Jewelry – Jewelry options include necklaces, rings, bracelets, and more. Other remembrances might include butterflies, religious symbols, pendants, or urns.
- Urns – Urns can be customized and personalized according to your wishes. Specialty or decorative urns may include ceramic urns or unique burial jars. Other options include various themes, such as religion, sports, the military, or a focus on a specific hobby. Many urns also allow for customization through engraving.
Cremation is Environmentally Gentle
If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, you might want to compare the impact of traditional burial and cremation on the environment. Traditional burial uses a number of processes and products that negatively impact the environment, including caskets, maintained grave sites, tombstones, embalming, and even the cultivation of flowers. Cremation, however, offers a reduced impact on the environment.
- The impact of the fuel/gas used in cremation – Cremation releases greenhouse gases and vaporized chemicals that are already present in the body. However, the industry continues to make progress in improving this process, lowering the level of toxic gases released into the atmosphere during cremation.
- The effects of scattering cremated remains – People opt to scatter ashes via casting, trenching, or raking. Casting involves tossing the remains into the wind. Trenching means burying the remains, either directly into the ground or in a biodegradable container. Raking means that the remains are raked into the earth after a ceremony. Some of the chemicals in the remains may negatively affect the environment, but the concentration of phosphorus and calcium can encourage the growth of some types of plants.
- The impact of embalming – Embalming, frequently necessary in burial, is not a mandatory part of the cremation process, except in rare cases. The embalming fluids contain formaldehyde-based chemicals as a preservative. These substances have been labeled as carcinogens and cause numerous health problems with extensive exposure.
- The effects of burial on land space – All the cemeteries across the nation take up more than 1,000,000 acres of land space. Cremation takes up significantly less space as many individuals chose to scatter the ashes or keep them in the home.
Is Cremation Affordable?
Because the cremation process is less involved, the related expenses are far lower than burial. However, you can still plan a memorial or funeral service whether you choose traditional burial or cremation. You can hold a memorial service either with or without the presence of the cremated remains.
Cremation services from a reputable company will generally include the following:
- Moving the deceased from the place of death to the funeral facility
- Keeping the deceased at the facility
- Filing the death certificate and the related legal paperwork
- The cremation container
- The cremation process
- Transfer of the cremated remains to a temporary container
Additional advantages related to cost include:
- The cost of burial vs. cremation – The average cost of a cremation can be one-third less than the average cost of a traditional funeral and burial.
- You can apply funds to the ceremony, donations, or memorialization plans – Instead of spending money on the burial, the funds can be put towards the ceremony itself or toward charitable donations of your choosing. You can set up some type of memorialization plan, such as a meal at your favorite restaurant for your loved ones.
- Lock in pricing to avoid cost increases – Prepaying for your cremation may allow you to lock in pricing and avoid the cost increases associated with inflation.
Cremation allows the remains to be easily transported. For example, if your children or siblings all live in another state, the remains can be shipped there. Further benefits of portability follow:
- Easy to share or display – Family members can easily display cremated remains at their home or at a location of their choosing.
- Multiple family members can all keep a portion of the cremated remains – With burial, the remains stay in one place forever. With cremation, multiple family members, no matter their location around the globe, can share the remains.
- Numerous storage options – The cremated remains can be stored in various types of containers, including urns, or even made into home décor. Other people opt to have the remains stored in custom jewelry.
- Scattering gardens – Many cemeteries or memorial parks have a special area dedicated for the interment of cremated remains.
- Relocation options – At times, survivors feel tied to a certain location because a loved one is buried there. Unlike burial, cremation doesn’t limit you to a single place to memorialize a loved one. If your loved one moves to another state, they can easily bring your memory with them.
Cremation is Now the Preferred End-of-Life Option
Cremation has now surpassed burial as the preferred option for final arrangements in the United States. Cremation services totaled 47 percent of all types of end-of-life services in 2014. By 2025, that number is predicted to rise to more than 55 percent of funeral services.
- Simplicity – Cremation is much less involved than burial and requires less planning. Your loved ones will not need to hold a burial or a graveside service if you don’t want one. They might choose a candlelight vigil or other type of simple memorial instead, in which you can add these details to you arrangements.
- Dignity – Cremation eliminates many of the intimate and personal questions that are innate in a burial and the related services, such as the issue of an open casket. You can rest assured that your remains will be treated with the dignity that you deserve.
- Environmental concerns – As previously noted, cremation is environmentally gentle. Improvements to the cremation process continue to make this an even better option for the environment, leaving a reduced carbon footprint.
- Flexibility – Cremation affords a great deal of latitude in ceremony planning. For example, if your loved ones all want to meet in Hawaii or at another location of your choosing to remember you, they can easily travel and hold a memorial at that site.
You might have put off planning your end-of-life services for years, but now is the time to take that step and preplan your final arrangements. Cremation offers several important benefits over burial so that you can protect your loved ones from difficult decisions in the future at a time when they already feel a great deal of emotional pain. You can also keep them from suffering financial stress. Cremation provides flexibility, environmental safety, affordability, and portability as you address end-of-life matters.
For more information about the services that we provide, contact Neptune Society. We can assist you in creating a prepaid cremation plan that will meet your needs and those of your loved ones.