There is nothing more heartbreaking than sitting across from a family that is not mentally or financially prepared to bury a loved one. Two scenarios have the potential to further complicate things, especially for the LGBTQ community. The first is when the person who has passed away is leaves behind a same sex partner who is intentionally omitted from the funeral planning process because of familial or societal views of their relationship. The second is when a transgender or transsexual man or woman who expresses themselves in life as the opposite sex and wishes to be honored and represented in death as they lived is not because their next of kin chooses otherwise.
Funeral pre-planning or making preened arrangements is the process of making funeral and burial arrangements for someone who has not passed away yet. Funeral pre-planning has several benefits ranging from easing the financial burden and emotional stress that at need (funeral arrangements made once death has occurred) can cause for family and loved ones to taking control and ensuring that final wishes are executed.
This article has been written to accomplish three primary goals. The first is to arm you with the information needed to ensure that your final wishes are brought to life. The second is to empower you to make decisions that will not only bring peace of mind but save you thousands of dollars in emotional overspending. The third is to encourage you to take control of your life’s death plan through what we in the funeral service industry, refer to as pre-planning.
1. Know Your Rights
You have the right to be remembered and celebrated in death as you have lived. You have the right to choose who is involved in making and bringing your final wishes to life. You have the right to be cared for by a team of professionals who not only respect your dollars but who respect your choices and will honor you as an individual upon your death. Throughout my career, I have overheard several derogatory and inappropriate comments and jokes made about LGBTQ deceased and funeral-goers who attend their services. Pre-screening and interviewing the professionals who will be responsible for your care is 100% permissible. Invest the same energy that you would when selecting a car dealership, doctor, surgeon, or any other professional when choosing a funeral service provider.
2. Communicate What You Want
Thinking ahead is, but you must take things a step further and communicate your final wishes and desires to those that you will leave behind. In addition to conveying your wishes to your loved ones, you will need to reach out to the professionals who can help turn your forethought into action and execution. Many LGBTQIA+ cleints of mine have opted for creating beautiful memorials in their homes because this is where they felt the safest with their partners. Here are a few tips for creating a beautiful memorial service at home.
3. Put It on Paper
Not planning for death is a huge mistake that cannot be corrected once you die. Our most reliable allies and advocates, in the end, are the acts of funeral and Estate Planning. Having a will, advanced directive, a pre-need contract, and other legally binding vital information and documentation readily available upon your death that will serve as your voice beyond the grave.
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using our contact page.