There is a fair bit of confusion surrounding pre arranging and pre planning as these terms are not interchangeable. Pre arrangement is a term generally used to describe the brief period of time before the funeral of a loved one who had not pre-planned their funeral. That is to say that Pre arrangement is done shortly after the death and shortly before the funeral. Pre arranging consists of several steps including notifying appropriate government agencies of the passing, preparing and delivering an obituary and photo to the local newspaper(s) (if applicable), and then finally making plans for the funeral and service itself. Pre Planning is very much different in the fact that pre planning a funeral is generally done by the same person the funeral is to be held for.
Pre Planning your funeral has its benefits. When you take the time to pre plan your funeral the services and products you select are locked in at the price you were offered at the time of the pre payment. Pre Planning allows you the control over choices such as length of the viewing or visitation, as well as the headstone design, plot selection, and sometimes even flowers. There are rare exceptions that will cause a last minute and required change in some parts of your plan.
Something that many people overlook when pre planning their service is the feelings of their loved ones; funerals are after all for the ones left behind and not so much for the deceased. Although it is imperative that the wishes of the deceased be respected it is also important to allow the loved ones left behind the ability to grieve. When deciding on important issues such as whether or not there will be a service, whether or not there will be a viewing, as well as how your remains will be stored you might want to consult your family or at least your next of kin. When the time comes for these arrangements to be carried out it will be your executer or next of kin who is responsible for setting the ball in motion. If you make choices that you know will be difficult for your family members to come to terms with, you might be unintentionally robbing your loved ones of the closure they need. Consulting your family ahead of time will ensure that your funeral is affective for not only yourself but for your family.
Some things that might occur that could cause some changes in your plans are accidental death causing horrible disfigurement, or accidental death where you or your loved one did not pass alone. Although Funeral Directors are very well trained in reconstruction of physical damage there are some rare cases where reconstruction is either impossible, or a natural looking body cannot be achieved. In these cases if you had pre arranged an open casket and a viewing of several day, this plan might need to be reconsidered. There is almost no time where the viewing would need to be shortened, however a choice might be made to leave the casket closed for the duration of the viewing or visitation due to the damages. In cases where you or your loved one passed with other people, for instance a motor vehicle accident where driver and passenger fail to recover; a decision might be made to run the funerals concurrently. This happens most often when it is a husband and wife who pass, or siblings who pass together. When more than one person passes at one time some compromises might be made to meet in the middle so to speak, with the desires of both of the deceased individuals and their families respectively.
When you pre plan a funeral for yourself or a loved one in the state of Florida your purchase is guaranteed by the Florida Funeral & Cemetery Consumer Advocacy (FFCCA). You have the right to change your mind about your plans at anytime; you have the right to purchase services from any number of suppliers with no financial repercussions from the funeral home you are arranging with. As the consumer or the planner of your own funeral you would be wise to review some of the information found on the FFCCA website to help you make an informed decision regarding your plans.
When pre planning it is a good idea to keep an open mind or even make contingency plan. When choosing products including flowers, caskets, or urns, you might say, I would like casket A but if for any reason it is unavailable casket B is my second choice. This will allow some flexibility in the event of something unforeseen happening between the time of planning and the time of you or your loved ones passing. This will help your funeral run more smoothly and will help your family recover from their tremendous loss much more rapidly.