Planning ahead eases grief for loved ones

Provided to The East County Californian

It is not a topic that is easy to talk about, but planning for what happens after your death and understanding your options can reduce the stress on grieving loved ones.  Making decisions now about what happens when you are gone can help your loved ones know they are honoring your final wishes.

Often, family members and friends are unsure of what you wanted and worry about making poor choices. Preplanning can help your family make better choices and significantly reduces the number of difficult decisions that traditionally confront loved ones at a time of loss.  Planning ahead helps answer questions like:

* Did she want a traditional funeral with burial?

* Didn’t he say he wanted to be cremated?

* Should we have the service at the funeral home or our church?

* What music should be played?

Deciding on the type of service you want is a step towards feeling confident that your wishes will be fulfilled.  Traditional services generally have a visitation at a funeral home and a funeral service. These services are most common, but options are changing. Funeral homes are responding to the demand for customized, complete services. Spend some time deciding what type of service you want, if it should have religious elements, if it should be intimate or large and if there are any unique requests that can be accommodated.

Another element to determine is if you will have a burial or cremation? You should purchase a cemetery plot if you are having an in-ground burial or a mausoleum crypt for above ground. If cremation is the choice, think about whether the ashes will remain with someone, be stored, buried or scattered somewhere?

When planning a funeral, research different funeral homes. It is your funeral; have it done the way you want.  Work with a funeral director who inspires trust and answers your questions.  Choose a provider that fits your budget and is willing to work with you on any special requests.  Ask for a price listing.  Many funeral homes offer package funerals that may cost less than purchasing individual items or services.

You do not need to pre-pay in order to preplan your funeral. Simply sharing a written record of your final wishes with family and friends relieves them of the burden of making difficult decisions regarding your final arrangements.  However, if you do choose to fund your pre-arrangement, you can lock in today’s prices for products and services that likely will be more expensive in the future.

Regardless of whether or not you fund your prearrangement, preplanning your funeral ensures that your services will be as you would have wanted and relieves your loved ones of additional stress at a trying time.

This information is brought to you by El Cajon Mortuary and Cremation Service. As proud members of the Dignity Memorial® network, El Cajon Mortuary professionals are dedicated to helping families in the El Cajon community and nationwide celebrate each life like no other. For more information about making prearrangements, visit or call (619) 440-8033.