Planning For '6 Feet Under' While 6 Feet Above

Tuesday, February 22nd 2011, 6:46 pm
By: News 9

Kirsten McIntyre, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Many know planning a loved one's funeral can be a very difficult and distraught time, especially if someone has died unexpectedly, but some Oklahomans are trying to ease the pain for relatives by making their own arrangements.

It's not unusual for people once they reach their 50s to begin thinking about their mortality.

"We were living about a mile from my wife's parents when they died about three years apart. We were pretty much in charge of their funeral arrangements, and so that got us to thinking who would take care of us," said Jim Barlow, who prearranged his funeral.

That question prompted Jim and Dorothy Barlow to begin making funeral plans for themselves.

"We talked to our minister, we talked to friends who had had loved ones buried recently and we got their recommendations and responses," Jim said.

After moving to Oklahoma, the Barlows picked Yanda and Son funeral home in Yukon. Donna Yanda said prearranged funerals give peace of mind.

"They're able to select what they want and have it all situated so that their children and other family members don't have to make all the decisions for them," Yanda said.

Pre-planning locks in the price of your funeral regardless of how long you live, but there are some things to consider when choosing a funeral home, including read your policy and make sure it's guaranteed. Also, make sure it can be transferred to another funeral home in case you move.

"But the policy is also backed by the State Insurance Guaranty Fund and that would always back up in case the funeral home went out or the insurance company went under," Yanda said.

As for the Barlows, they also had some advice on pre-planning.

"Write out instructions-- what do you want your service to be like? Who do you want to speak? What do you want to be sung? That kind of thing we are doing," Jim said.

The Barlows said once you figure out the details, make sure your plans are written down and tell your family members where to find the information.

Experts said you may find it less stressful to "price shop" funeral homes by telephone because they are required to give out price information over the phone.