Planning Your Funeral: 6 Things to Do If You’re Terminally Ill

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Receiving a diagnosis for terminal illness can be life-changing. Beyond the impact that it has on your current quality of life, your mental health, and the lives of those closest to you, it also hurries you into making major financial decisions and end-of-life plans that will need to be executed in the near future.

One of these major plans that you will begin looking into is your own funeral, which will require you to carefully consider how you are going to pay for certain products and services, what debts you will have to settle when you pass, and what assistance your family may need in order to make things happen. If you are concerned about taking care of this major event, let's walk through some of the necessary steps you will have to take as you navigate this difficult time.

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1. Determine How Much Funeral Arrangements Will Cost You

If you have never had to carry out or another person's funeral, chances are that you are not familiar with the many costs that come with such an arrangement. Depending upon your personal wishes and the availability of services and providers near you, you may be looking at a funeral cost anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. Of course, it is important to remember that traditional funeral costs are much higher than some of your alternatives. For example, if you were to pursue cremation services and a memorial instead of a burial, you may be able to cut down on expenses. Keep these things in mind as you look further into the topic.

2. Understand Your Current Financial Situation

Receiving treatment, end-of-life care, and managing other expenses associated with your day-to-day life and your terminal illness can be costly, especially if you were having financial difficulties prior to your diagnosis. When you are approaching your own funeral plans, it is important to think about how much room in your budget you will have and what debts may still need to be paid after you pass. If need be, you can always look into financial assistance for cancer patients that you can turn to for help.

3. Determine Who Will Be Taking Care of Your Funeral

There is most likely someone in your family or amongst your friends who is responsible enough (and who wants to) take care of your funeral and of any responsibilities that may come after it. If there is someone you have in mind who has agreed to this, make sure to file the legal paperwork and give them the power to carry out these tasks. This way, you will not have to worry about another person attempting to execute your last wishes.

4. Begin to Look At Local Burial Sites and Funeral Homes

When you have a concrete idea of who will be helping you arrange your funeral, where it will be arranged, and approximately how much it will cost, you can begin looking at local funeral homes and burial sites where you may want your memorial or funeral to take place. This will also give you an idea of how much it may cost for items such as headstones, coffins, and other products that you will need. If you feel it is right to do so, you may want to pay for plots and items ahead of time. If you do not anticipate your passing for many years, however, it is often best to wait as business may shut down or change pricing in the meantime.

5. Make Sure That Your Will Has Been Created and Is Ready to Be Executed

In the midst of all of this planning, it can be easy to forget about other important elements like your will. If you have special items that you want to give to certain individuals or funds that you plan on giving to relatives or friends, all of this must be arranged prior to your funeral. Set aside some time to meet with your lawyer so that you can begin drafting this document and ensuring its legality and proper execution. Once this is set and stone, it will be one less thing that you have to worry about.

6. Turn to Loved Ones for Help

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone during any of this! You have plenty of friends and family members who want to make sure that you are comfortable and happy at this time. Use your support network to help you take the stress out of funeral planning and avoid losing precious time that you could be spending with them instead.

Making sure that you have all of your affairs in order when you are coping with a terminal illness can help reduce the overall stress and grief you are currently feeling. If planning your funeral is on your extensive to-do list, use the tips above to map out your responsibilities and make the process simpler for you and your loved ones.

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