Preplanning a Funeral
To prearrange a funeral for yourself or a family member, you must first meet with a licensed funeral director during a preplanning or prearrangement conference. Preplanning takes the guesswork out of funerals and provides an opportunity for you to talk to your family members about your (or their) last wishes and funeral arrangements while you are still able.
There are multiple funeral, burial and cremation options, along with a host of possibilities for memorialization. Your funeral director will talk with you about the kind of funeral you desire and ask you to make a number of decisions that would otherwise be discussed after death.
Benefits of Preplanning
Preplanning a funeral has many benefits. Planning ahead allows you to make sound decisions regarding your burial, cremation and memorialization. Communicating your wishes in advance relieves your family from having to make difficult decisions at an emotional time. Preplanning also enables you to make financial arrangements to cover your funeral costs, thus removing a possible financial burden from your family.
Preplanning does not prevent you from making changes to your arrangement or prevent your surviving family members from making changes to your selections at the time of death. You, or your next-of-kin, may wish to upgrade, reduce, transfer or even cancel the preplanned funeral if so desired.
Prearranging with a specific funeral home does not mean you have to use that funeral home's services. Your prearrangement may be transferred to another funeral home at any time, even if that funeral home is located in another state.
Meeting with a Funeral Director
Through the course of the prearrangement conference, the funeral director will provide you with a General Price List (GPL) outlining all merchandise and services available to you at that funeral home. The choices you make will be recorded on an itemized statement (titled Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected). The statement will list all selected services, merchandise and charges involved. Any advance payment you make toward your funeral will be held in trust (as required by New Jersey law) to ensure the money will be there when it is needed.
You may want to ask someone to accompany you to the prearrangement conference to offer support and help you understand your options. After you preplan your funeral, it is a good idea to tell a family member or close friend about the prearrangements you made and the funeral home you selected.