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6 questions to ask when planning your own funeral

Don't leave difficult decisions about your final arrangements to loved ones. Make your preferences clear in your will.

Funerals are not just about the deceased. What you decide now can help your family emotionally and practically as they are faced with both mourning your loss and giving you a fitting tribute.

Funerals are an important part of the process of grieving and should begin the healing process for the family. A well-done funeral service provides lasting memories and a chance to say goodbye with dignity. While it may be easy now to say you don't want a funeral, it leaves your family with nothing but bad choices when the time comes. Do they honor your wishes and deny themselves the opportunity to honor your memory? Or do they go against your wishes and feel guilty for having a funeral anyway?

Give them all a break, and make a plan today while you can make rational decisions without stress or emotion. You will prevent overspending and disagreements as family members argue for different approaches.

Services do not have to be complicated. Start with funeral costs. Decide on a budget and set money aside, buy insurance or start a savings plan. Make sure your closest family member, whether a spouse, child or sibling, has access to your bank account after your death.

Make a list of your wishes by answering the following questions:

• What music is appropriate for you?

• What Bible passages or inspirational readings would you like included?

• Where do you want your funeral to be held: church, funeral home, backyard or cemetery?

• Rather than flowers, is there a charitable organization you would like people to donate to in your name?

* Is there someone special you would like to deliver the eulogy or lead the services?

• Do you want to be cremated or buried in a coffin?

You can pick out a burial plot, crematorium, and/or coffin well in advance to keep others from having to decide while grieving.

It's free and easy to sit down and outline what you'd like to see at your funeral. You should consider putting your wishes in writing as part of your last will and testament.

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