Funeral Planning - Pre-Plan Your Dream Funeral

10th October 2018

This blog on Funeral Planning is provided by LifeLot – Your Online Digital Safe.

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Whether you have a terminal illness, are involved in an accident, or embarking on the one adventure every human must eventually take into the great beyond; funeral planning can help you.

While this idea may not appeal to everybody, and certainly isn't a typical 'fun' thing to do on a Friday evening...there are definitely some major benefits that can come with planning your funeral.

  • It can reduce the logistical and financial stresses that come when a family member passes away. 
  • You may find it helps to bring you some peace by knowing you've provided critical information and choices for your loved ones when you've gone.
  • Your friends and family can celebrate you as you wish to be celebrated.
  • By letting your family know how you'd like your funeral or memorial service to be, they'll have less difficult and complicated decisions to make during an emotional time.
  • With knowledge comes power. If you know more about what happens when we pass away it can help to eliminate some of the fear that comes with it. 

Burial, Cremation Or Donation?

Firstly, make sure you let your family and loved ones (or delegates) know if you want to be buried or cremated. You can put it in your will or a letter to your family. Just let someone know your definitive answer to avoid any unnecessary stress. If you have no preference, let them know that too. If you change your mind about your choice...make sure you update your will, and let family know this.

If you choose burial, you will need to purchase a burial plot. If you choose cremation, you can decide what you want done with the cremated remains, including burial, scattering, or giving them to friends and family members to be stored in an urn. For something different and eco-friendly consider requesting to be honoured with an Eco Urn.

You can even donate your body for medical science.

Find A Funeral Director

It's important to find a funeral director that you like and trust to work with in planning your burial, cremation and funeral or memorial service.

Most funeral homes belong to the Funeral Directors Association. FDANZ  members commit to providing a thoroughly professional and high-quality service. It is a requirement that those on the FDANZ register have a nationally recognised qualification in funeral direction and commit to mandatory ongoing training. 

The funeral director can help you with purchasing any goods and services that you’ll need for for your burial, cremation, funeral or memorial service. 

Paying For Your Funeral

When pre-planning a funeral it is also common to pre-pay for some or all of the products and services you’re organising. There are a number of ways to pay for pre-arrangements, and some may meet your needs better than others. Have a look at Pre-Paying A Funeral through Funeral Link for more ideas around this. 

Alternatively, you may have Funeral Cover Insurance. Make sure this is clearly stated in your LifeLot account and funeral plan.

Burial Arrangements

You can work with a funeral home to find a cemetery or approach a cemetery directly and have a funeral direction coordinate the arrangements. Here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Find a cemetery: Location, religion, and environment are the big factors to consider when choosing a cemetery, as is vacancy (not just for the immediate burial, but for future family members as well).in loving memory carved into stone
  • Decide if you want multiple plots: Are you buying plots for the future as well? If you are, you’ll want to find plots that are together. Local cemetery graves can be double depth allowing for the burial of 2 family members together, thus taking up less land. Some cemeteries even have triple depth plots.
  • Visit the cemetery: Take a look at the grounds: are they well maintained? Inspect the plot you’re buying: is it what you had in mind? Take this opportunity to ask any questions you might have before you sign the paperwork. Someone else can visit the cemetery on your behalf if you cannot visit yourself.

Burial on private land is only lawful if there is no public cemetery available within 32 kilometres of the place of death. See Burial On Private Land
Burial at sea is also an option, provided it happens at one of the 5 authorised places and that the other rules around sea burial are followed. For more information on this, download the Guide To Burials At Sea

Cremation and Burial Products

Casket or Coffin: Caskets come in a variety of styles and prices, from plain wooden to beautifully painted and sparkly! (Check out Dying Art for some stunning designs). The selection of a casket is a personal choice, so shop around and get exactly what you want. You can either purchase a casket from the funeral home you are using or from a retailer.

Shroud: A Shroud Bearer casket allows shrouded bodies to be cremated or buried with ease. Environmentally considered, minimal glue and no toxic finishes. See Eco Friendly Funerals.

Burial Vault/Grave Liner: The cemetery will likely require a burial vault or grave liner, and the funeral home may have a limited selection of vaults and liners, so be aware that you may not have much of a choice for this product.

Urn: Cremation urns come in a wide variety of styles and prices.  The selection of an Urn is a personal one and it's good to see what options there are available - for some neat ideas see the Better Send Off website.

Cremation Casket: The selection of a cremation casket is a personal choice. You may purchase a casket for the funeral service that is then used for the cremation, though the casket should be made without metal as metal cannot be cremated. If you don’t want to buy a casket but you want to use one for the funeral service, you may rent one from the funeral home for the funeral service and use an alternative container for the cremation.

Cremation Jewellery: There are some amazing keepsakes available, it might be a nice idea to arrange for your loved ones to have something more personal to remember you by, if you have chosen to be cremated. See the range of Cremation Jewellery available.

“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” —Steve Saint

Are Any Arrangements In Place Already?

It might pay to ask around your family members, just to make sure that no arrangements have already been made on your behalf. Sometimes family members may request to have other plots set aside. If a plot has been kindly purchased for you make sure to let your loved ones know, to save any confusion or wasted money purchasing another plot. LifeLot members - be sure to update this information in the My Wishes section of your LifeLot account. 

What Type of Service Do You Want?

The most common types are traditionally funerals or tangis, graveside services and memorial services. 
You can also choose to have a service in your own home, or that of a loved one. You will want to decide if you wish to have any other events around your passing such as a a wake, viewing or allowing visitations. These are usually help before the service, while gatherings or a reception is held afterwards. 

Some things to think about before you decide on the type of service you want: 

  • Choosing a location for the service - perhaps there is somewhere suitable for more family members and friends to attend, or maybe you would like it to be held somewhere that has significant meaning to you. 
  • Decide who you would like to serve as pallbearers. Although no one 'wants' to be a pallbearer, it is viewed as a very special honour to be asked so think carefully on who would be the best choices. 6 is the usual amount but you can have up to 8 if you allow for pallbearers at the front and back also. 
  • Select special poems and readings that you would like to be read at the service.
  • Choose significant meaningful music or songs to be played or even sang/performed at the service. 

Personalise Your Funeral or Memorial Service

There are many ways for those closest to you to participate in a funeral or memorial service. You may wish to identify certain participants to do a special reading, sing a song or offer other tributes.

A slideshow with all of your most treasured photographs can be playing on a screen or blank wall while your favourite music plays in the background. These images and songs can also be stored in your LifeLot account to make it easy for your loved ones when the time comes. 

You should have a list of guests that you wish to be invited. There may be specific people that your family doesn't know to contact so make sure you have their names and correct contact information so that they can be invited. 

Think of some personal touches to make your service yours. Choose your favourite flowers, request certain favourite foods to be served if you wish. If you were good at something or had things that you really loved - include them at your service (for example: your paintings, if you loved to paint).

Let your family know how you would like the service to look and feel. You can record and store all of this information in the My Wishes section of your LifeLot account along with any other special requests. (Must be logged in to view). 

You could even leave a letter or video for your loved ones here. 

By planning ahead you will join an increasing number of people who will thoughtfully relieve their family of some of the stress of a family death.

Once you've finished pre-planning your funeral you should create your own LifeLot account if you don't already have one, where you can store and share these plans with trusted delegates who will carry out your wishes.

Related: The Final Farewell | What Is A Delegate | Aging 


Read previous informative and interesting Blog Posts from LifeLot

I've got your back!Why It’s Important To Organise And Share All This Stuff With Someone

Life is full of twists and turns. Planning and gathering together all these jigsaw pieces now will relieve a lot of stress later. Whether you’re recovering from surgery, involved in an accident, or embarking on the one adventure every human must eventually take into the great beyond. This info will come in handy for you in every day life, your family and loved ones. By organising and sharing the location of all these things you’re helping yourself to become more efficient,  engaged in your life and your family can easily take over if needed.


It's simple to set up, free to try, and it can make a world of difference for your family if something happens to you.