Funeral or Cremation Instructions
You can ease the emotional burden on your loved ones by making decisions and leaving instructions regarding your wishes for funeral or cremation arrangements. While this is probably the last thing you want to think about, your family will never know what you truly wanted if you don't tell them. At the very least, you should let them know whether you would prefer a funeral and burial or cremation. If you want to be more specific than that, there are plenty of other decisions to be made.
If you are active in a religious organization and are likely to have a funeral in the religious facility, you might want to consider giving a copy of your funeral wishes to that organization. It can keep your preferences on file and be ready to provide the kind of service you've requested.
Funeral and Burial
If you want a funeral and burial when you die, the major decisions should be made first. For instance, you might first decide if the burial will be inground or aboveground entombment. Next is where the burial will take place. It's likely that you will know of a cemetery in which you would like a plot. Perhaps you have family and friends who have already passed away and you want to have the same final resting place. Then you will probably want to decide on a funeral home. You could even shop around to find which funeral home would provide the best services for the best price.
Other decisions you may want to make include:
Who you wish to be pallbearers
What type of casket you prefer
Whether you want an open or closed casket
Whether you would prefer to have a funeral service in a location other than the funeral home
Name of the clergy you want to preside over the service
What you want to be buried in (clothing, jewelry, and so on)
What music you want to be played at the service
Specific religious passages or literature you want read
Who you want to do the readings
Instructions regarding flower arrangements
Of course, there are other instructions that can be left for your loved ones. How detailed you want to be is entirely up to you but, remember, the more decisions you make for your family, the easier it will be on all involved.
Though cremation is becoming more common, many families still do not accept it as a proper process. If you want to be cremated, it's best to discuss it with your family in addition to leaving instructions. If you do not discuss it and make your reasons known, some family members may raise objections when you die, causing discord at a difficult time.
The decisions you make regarding cremation are very similar to those made for a funeral and burial. However, one major decision that may be considered is what you want done with your remains. You can have them all placed into one urn, you can request that they be scattered in a specific location, or you can even have them divided up among certain people. You will likely want to include this topic in your discussion with the family.
Most cremations include a memorial service of some type. You can be as specific as you want regarding the service, if you want one. Some services allow the family members to view the body before it is cremated; others simply have pictures and belongings on display. Take a look at the list of considerations regarding the funeral service and see if any apply to the service you have in mind for cremation.