How to plan your own memorial service (or someone else’s) | Will and a Way

How to plan your own memorial service (or someone else’s)

Planning |

Have you given any thought to how you want your life story to be told and celebrated?

It’s your life, your way and your final wishes. Go out in the style you choose. Make those plans and arrangements now and let your legal representative know where the funds are to pay for it all.

Once you’ve decided, be sure those those details are added to your account. 

Your service, your way

A traditional funeral is held soon after death and is often religious. It sometimes includes viewings and typically is the most expensive service. You’ll want to choose a funeral home and make any choices that really matter to you, such as the type of grave marker or cremation container. If you are planning a traditional funeral, be sure to make a list of prospective pall bearers. You may select someone to deliver the eulogy.  Also note if you will want and have earned military honors.

A simpler memorial service can be held in place of a traditional funeral up to several months after your death. While still a formal gathering, your remains will not be present at the service. Most memorials include readings or prayers, songs, and a eulogy or invitation for mourners to share personal stories.

A celebration of life or wake can be more informal, with good food and drink; treasured stories, both serious and funny; toasts to the deceased; and a more relaxed atmosphere where laughter can be a part of grieving.

If a funeral home or church is not your thing, choose a venue that is a better reflection of your personality. Consider a winery, park, museum, golf club, lodge, or your favorite private event locale.

You may want to choose an officiant and make a guest list. Consider listing your favorite flowers, your preferred food and drink, and a music playlist. Consider what readings or prayers you will want shared, if any.

Your family will want to add memory boards and mementos or perhaps a video tribute. Guests can go home with a memory takeaway, such as a seed packet, a personalized golf ball, or a card with a favorite recipe that was served at the celebration.

Many families are using virtual tools to create memorial and funeral services. Recent events have affected our ability to gather, and even absent a public health emergency, virtual services eliminate travel and other costly expenses. Whether you stream a live service with assistance from a funeral home or create your own using social media and video tools, a virtual gathering creates a celebration that anyone can attend, from anywhere in the world.

Grave matters

You have a lot to think about when it comes to your remains. Pricing can vary greatly, so do your homework. Your funeral home can help guide you through choices which may include being interred in your local cemetery, in-ground burial in a vault, in-ground crypt or mausoleum, above ground lawn crypt, private mausoleum for burial or cremation with room for your entire family, public community mausoleum above ground for burial, or cremation remains. 

You could choose a natural burial, with your remains placed directly into the ground and allowed to decompose, or a green burial, with your body buried into ground that has no pesticide traces and no other bodies in caskets or that have been treated with embalming fluids. 

If you are to be cremated and you want your ashes to be scattered, be sure to check your state and local laws before you make those plans.

You could have your ashes mixed with concrete and made into a statue which is then placed on the floor of the ocean. Or your ashes can be even made into jewelry. More ideas and options are being created all the time.

Rest in peace

Rest assured that your family will know your wishes. You will spare them a lot of tough decision-making at a difficult time. They will certainly appreciate the time and trouble you have gone to in planning your own service. You have done it your way and your friends and family will be forever grateful.


Of course, these plans are only useful if your executor knows where to find them; be sure you leave clear instructions for him or her about accessing your information at Will and A Way, as well as the location of your paper documents.

Life is uncertain. Gain a little peace of mind with Will and a Way.

Information shared here is not to be taken as legal or financial advice. Suggestions and resources are presented for your consideration and may or may not apply to your personal situation. Please consult your advisers.
































































Information shared here is not to be taken as legal or financial advice. Suggestions and resources are presented for your consideration and may or may not apply to your personal situation. Please consult your advisers.


































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