Planning for a funeral before a loved one dies isn’t an easy process, but it can serve as a vital component to ease the stress on the family members impacted by that death.

Terry Rietveld, co-manager and partner of Will Funeral Chapel in Mitchell, has spent the past 17 years helping families pre-plan for funerals. Over the years serving as a funeral director, Rietveld said the pre-planning process has helped families overcome the financial burden that can come with a funeral.

“It doesn’t take the grief that comes with someone dying, but at least you aren’t stuck with the worry of how the family can pay for the funeral,” Rietveld said.

While Rieveld said the elderly demographic represents a great majority of the people who begin planning for a funeral, he’s guided people as young as 50 years old through the funeral planning process.

Rietveld emphasised how pre-planning for a funeral is a timely process. In addition, coming to an agreement with the individual who is facing death can help the family have comfort in knowing that the music, food and overall style of the funeral was adjusted to the loved one’s preferences.

“When I sit down with a family, I’m likely going to be meeting them two or or three times before the funeral,” Rietveld said. “There are a lot of moving parts that come with a funeral, with the choice of a casket and the type of music one wants to be played at their funeral.”

The costs associated with a funeral can add up quickly, especially with the popular choice in a traditional funeral that involves embalming the deceased. However, the choice of cremation has helped reduce funeral costs, as Rietveld said cremation is cheaper than the traditional funeral. The average cost of a funeral is $7,000 to $10,000, Rietveld noted.

According to Rietveld, a new option for families and individuals to pay for a funeral is called a guaranteed trust. The guaranteed trust allows the family and/or individual who is expected to die choose the casket, vault and other costs. Rietveld said the funeral chapel then totals the charges and guarantees the funeral be fixed at the price of what the individual or family was quoted at that time, meaning no interest will be paid by the family.

“Say you did that today, you would get that funeral to cost the same price as it was quoted today 40 years from now,” Rietveld said of the guaranteed funeral trust option. “If the interest outgrows the price of what the cost was fixed at when you did the guaranteed trust option, the money will come back to the family estate.”

Throughout his years of pre-planning funerals, Rietveld said he’s never had one family member of the deceased individual regret the decision.

“Every funeral is unique, and there are no do-overs,” Rietveld said. “One of the best ways to make it the best possible funeral is to pre-plan."