Has it occurred to you that you can arrange your funeral service in your lifetime?
I realise that that may not be your cup of tea – and that’s fine. But, more likely, you’re not even aware that you can do this.
This is actually an option that is available to anyone. And even if it’s not for you, it might be ideal for others close to you.
- When someone dies, families can get into squabbles because nobody can agree on the content or style of funeral. For example, one party may feel that full religious is appropriate, whereas another may be totally against it. If the subject of the funeral can make a decision beforehand, this may save a lot of trouble later. Especially, at a period of increased stress, which is normally the case after a death.
- You can prepare the service that will be all about you! So if you have strong feelings about religion (one way or another), you can leave precise instructions – or even have a ceremony written now – to ensure that your wishes will be respected.
- You can also supervise your own eulogy. Whether you write it yourself or get somebody else to do it, this is a major part of any funeral service.
- You can choose your music and even readings.
- You may find that members of your family are unhappy with what you have decided. It may take some work and tact to get them to agree (although they ought to respect whatever you decide). Initially, you can discuss your plans with them, and even involve them. They may come round to your way of thinking.
- There is no legal obligation for your next-of-kin to do what you request, even if your wishes are stated in your will. That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss all this with them first and try and get them on side.
How do I do it?
You can write your own funeral service, if you so desire. However, taking professional advice is preferable, as you will receive guidance as to what you can put in (or leave out). The wording may also be better, if left to a professional.
A civil celebrant will normally be able to help you. Make sure he/she is a member of a professional organisation before inviting them to your home. They will be happy to discuss your options and offer impartial advice. They can then go away and write a funeral draft, which you can amend until you’re happy with it.
You’d keep a copy of the final version (and so would the celebrant, if you want them to conduct the ceremony eventually). Obviously, the service would need to be easily found by your next-of-kin.
As a member of the Association of Independent Celebrants, I would be delighted to answer questions you may have and fulfill this role for you (or your family members). Please feel free to contact me!