The purpose of a memorial service and funeral is to remember the meaning of a person’s life. It provides the opportunity for friends and family members to gather together to mourn and celebrate the life of the deceased. Whether you are planning your own funeral in advance or are trying to plan the funeral of a loved one, here are 5 simple steps to follow.

1) Planning Ahead

Whether you are facing a terminal illness or are simply the type of person who likes to plan ahead, planning ahead for your funeral is an excellent idea. It means that your grieving loved ones will have fewer decisions to make. Funerals can be planned, and paid for, ahead of time.

2) Covering the Costs

Paying for funeral costs in advance is ideal for those who do not want to place the burden of paying the expenses on their loved ones. Services don’t necessarily have to be paid for immediately. Instead, you can opt to set money aside by placing it in a payable on death (POD) account at your local bank. With this type of account, the person who will be handling funeral services is named the beneficiary. The funds do not have to go through probate, and they will be available immediately upon the account holder’s death.

3) Making Contact With Funeral Directors

A minimum of 3-4 funeral directors in your community should be contacted, so that you can compare their services and prices. Written information about these topics and costs should be requested. Cultural and religious preferences should be discussed ahead of time with a funeral director, and the funeral home will provide assistance with obtaining death certificates.

4) Donations vs. Flowers

Many funeral attendees will bring flowers, unless they are given other instructions. Some individuals prefer that guests donate money to a specific charity instead of giving flowers. Such a request should be placed in one’s obituary. Instructions should be included on where to send the donations.

5) Choosing the Method of Burial

The final step will be choosing how one would like to be buried. In addition to traditional burials and cremation, one will also be able to choose entombment, which essentially involves having one’s body placed in a mausoleum or crypt.

Ultimately, planning a funeral is about celebrating the life of a lost loved, so make sure to honor their life and give the funeral a flair that is all their own.