Understanding The Funeral Prearrangement Process

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Should You Design Your Own Cemetery Monument?

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Some people find the idea of end-of-life planning to be unsettling or even frightening. Other people may have no such objections and would prefer not to leave anything to chance—and perhaps this accurately describes you. You might already have acquired a funeral plan or insurance to cover the costs, while also having a few ideas about the order of service for your funeral—not to mention the guest list. Perhaps you've even already chosen your gravesite. But have you given any thought to your cemetery monument?

A Memorial to You

Monuments can be upright headstones, flat grave markers, or something more ornate. The details are typically decided by family members after someone has passed away, but since it will serve as a permanent memorial to you and your life, shouldn't you have some say in its design and content? If you're already putting some thought into your end of life planning, what's to stop you from having some input in your monument? You may even be wondering if it's possible to design it yourself.

Design a Monument

Some headstone manufacturers offer the option to design a monument. This involves choosing the material, design, and dimensions of the monument, along with the content to be recorded on its surface (name, dates, an epitaph, and perhaps a photograph). It should be noted that headstone designs are usually intended for immediate implementation—once the design has been finalized, the monument will be manufactured. This may not be practical in your case.

Ahead of Time

In any event, considering the monument you want can be extremely beneficial for family and friends when the time comes. While you may not have an actual mockup of your preferred design, you can at least specify your preferences, while also informing next of kin and/or the executor of your estate where to locate the information when it's needed. You can be as detailed as you like, but as a minimum, you should leave instructions pertaining to your preferred material, design, and dimensions, along with the information to be recorded on the monument. This allows your family to know your explicit wishes with regards to your monument, allowing it to be quickly ordered and manufactured when needed. This also saves them from any potential confusion or disagreement. 

As may be the case with any aspect of end-of-life planning, some people may be uneasy with considering the design for their own cemetery monument. But if you don't like to leave things to chance, then don't—there's nothing preventing you from leaving behind detailed specifications for your own monument.