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The Rewards of Pre-Need Cemetery Planning: Questions, Answers & Advice

 "By planning now, you can help alleviate the stress and financial burden
of your funeral arrangements, limiting your loved ones to their emotional struggles."
The time following the death of a loved one can be stressful and extremely difficult. Emotions are strained and judgment can be clouded when trying to arrange a fitting tribute for the deceased. However, if the departed individual had made the effort ahead of time to arrange his or her preferences in regard to the burial place, burial type and other details, then survivors would be spared the task of making tough decisions and the worry of trying to choose what would have pleased their loved one.

"Be remembered the way you want."
Today, arrangements are as individual as the persons for whom (and by whom) they are made. A burial ceremony can be personalized to reflect the life of the deceased—and therefore have special meaning for those who are left behind. Whatever the case, nothing is more comforting to survivors than the knowledge that they are doing what the departed person wanted, in no uncertain terms. There are multiple advantages associated with planning for your funeral in advance. Sparing survivors the discomfort of making decisions is probably the best reason for pre-need planning—but not the only one, certainly. 

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Location, location, location

We are dealing with available real estate within  the cemetery grounds and mausoleum buildings and this is often a prime consideration in selecting a grave site. Should you want to be buried in a specific lot or in close proximity to a cemetery's special feature, notable interment, a beautiful tree, prized piece of sculpture, or specific area or height level within a mausoleum building— making arrangements in advance is likely the only way your wish will be fulfilled. The desire to be buried in close proximity to other family members, however, is the most imperative reason to pre-arrange these plans.

All too often, cemetery personnel hear grieving family members say, “We wish we had reserved sooner … made plans in advance.” For those who consider it important to be laid to rest near loved ones, obtaining a burial site in advance is a “must.”  If you, or your significant other, have a preference, take advantage of securing that location before someone beats you to it.


Lock in on lower prices

Pre-need planning, as well as pre-paying will often result in substantial savings, depending on the extent of the arrangements. Over time, the costs of items such as burial lots, crypts, niche spaces, monuments and plaques will surely increase due to inflation and other factors. It’s generally a good idea to look at funerary aspects as sound and practical “investments”—locking in the price now, and pre-paying with the knowledge that costs will almost certainly increase over time.

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Does pre-need planning benefit only the survivors?

While it has been emphasized that pre-need planning is a wonderfully thoughtful gift, and a comfort to survivors, you are still the most important person in the equation. Some people are reluctant to admit that they want to accentuate their own taste, style and outlook reflected in their burial arrangements. Hey, “It’s your funeral”—as the old expression goes. One of the best advantages of pre-need planning, therefore, is that you can leave your legacy as you wish, even after you’ve gone. You should not be embarrassed or hesitant about making end-of-life arrangements.

Put your stamp on your final resting place, and the interpretive signage that will mark this site, be it a granite monument, bronze plaque or a glass-etched niche front. You are in charge to have things just as you would like them, to select what you want, and to have your final farewell be a reflection of the way you have lived your life. But to make this happen, you must make your desires known and work towards implementing them ahead of time. Think, and act, proactively and make plans now while avoiding the cliches: casting fate to the wind and running the risk of having time pass you by.

What are the most important things to consider in the pre-need planning process?

​​What are the most important things to consider in the pre-need planning process?
There are a number of factors to consider, but most important is the selection of a final resting place. Your choice of cemetery is especially important, because it is, after all, your permanent resting place. A cemetery is “forever.”  Being very discreet in your selection, therefore, is of primary importance.

Another major decision involves traditional casket burial vs. cremation. This will of course dictate specific need for a burial lot, mausoleum crypt, or niche. From here, an array of related products and services will be signaled, such as the need for vaults, opening closing costs, etc. In most cases, spouses choose (or compromise) on a general method of side by side burial, be it casket or urn (cremation). Some couples may agree on a location such as a burial lot or mausoleum crypt, but have differing views in funerary approach—the husband wants a traditional outside casket burial for himself, while the wife prefers a cremains burial beside her husband. Likewise, one spouse can have a casket entombment within the mausoleum, while his or her spouse may opt for cremation in which an urn can accompany the larger coffin in a mausoleum space. Whatever the case, it's just important to make these decisions together, while alive, rather than to be left without options when one spouse has passed suddenly and quick decisions are required to make necessary burial arrangements.

​In the same vein, monuments, plaques and glass niches are better designed ahead of time, and in tandem by the couples if applicable. This is a tribute to you (and your spouse), but not so much for you to enjoy, but for your family, friends and future generations to experience. Think about the grave markers for your grandparents, parents and other acquaintances. What do they say, or not say, about the deceased?

​Here's your chance to be as traditional, formal, or creative as you want to be. It's a serious task, but one that you can have some fun with if done during a pre-need planning effort.  Many people take the opportunity to reflect their unique hobbies or interests in the design used for a stone monument, bronze plaque or glass niche. 

How do you make sure pre-need planning wishes are carried out?
​Tell family and friends exactly what your intentions are.  But more importantly, make the arrangements in advance, and keep a clear list of what you’ve been able to set up and with whom and where the arrangements were made. Write down your wishes, along with the details of your plans, in a “letter of instruction” and make several copies. Put a copy in with your other important papers where survivors can find it immediately (not hidden away in a safety deposit box, for example). Make sure to let at least one family member or legal representative know where to find these documents.

Our Advice?

Cemeteries have varying price structures and different degrees of services. Anyone going through the pre-need planning process should make a point of visiting various burial places. Stroll around the grounds, visit the mausoleum buildings, and stop by our office to see what kinds of products and services are available.

We are accustomed to getting requests for tours, and can offer what may be a surprising number of options for you to consider. Don’t hesitate to ask any, and all, questions. It also makes perfect sense to conduct research and compare pricing of stones and plaques offered by multiple vendors.  Do all of this while time is firmly still on your side. 

One last major point to consider is that our Mount Olivet sales team does not work on a commission structure. We are here to address your needs, be them immediate or future. Our goal is  for you to be pleased and confident with your plans.

Our cemetery experts are here to help you

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