Editor’s note: this is part one of a multi-part series about funerals.

It’s the one thing we all try not to think about, but it really is the only guarantee we have in life: our own death.

When most of us die it is often unexpected. Even when we know it’s coming the majority of us are still unprepared for it. There is a taboo surrounding death that it is often difficult for some of us to discuss our own death, let alone plan our own funeral.

Because of this, when the time comes our family is forced to make our funeral arrangements during one of the most stressful times of their life.

While they are grieving for their loved one they are expected to choose a casket, plan a service, find a cemetery, select a final outfit, and so on.

There are so many facets and options for planning a funeral that it can be extremely overwhelming. Especially when they are trying to give their loved on the perfect farewell.

Robert Laurent, Funeral Director of Labby Memorial Funeral Homes strongly encourages everyone to pre-plan or even pre-arrange their own funeral. He said that by doing this for yourself when the time comes to make funeral arrangements he can eliminate any added stress or worry on the family by showing them what you have planned for your own funeral.

“One of the hardest things families go through when making funeral arrangements is trying to pick what momma would have wanted or what daddy would have liked. By planning your own funeral there is a record of what you want” Laurent said.

Particularly when it comes to cremation. In the State of Louisiana if you are not married when you die the state requires the majority of your next-of-kin to agree to the cremation before it can take place. For example, you die and leave five children. Three of your five children must agree to your cremation. If they do not agree you will be buried.

Laurent said that the only way around this potential problem is for you to authorize your own cremation through self authorization with pre-planning.

Funerals today have become more personalized.

You have a plethora of options giving you the opportunity to pick out your own style, color or material of the casket or urn. You have the ability to flip through a catalog or search products online and decide for yourself what you want your earthly remains to spend the rest of eternity in.

By pre-planning your own funeral you are making it easier on your family while making your funeral truly yours so when the time does come, there is very little left for your family to do.

Pre-planning does not require you to actually plan your funeral through a funeral director.

It is as simple as documenting what you want to be done and storing it in a safe place where your next-of-kin knows where it is, or giving it to them to have when the time comes.

Laurent said that Labby Memorial offers memorial guides, pre-planning guides, for individuals to complete. You can document whether or not you want a funeral or memorial service and the details. You can name who you want to deliver the eulogy, what music is to be played and where to hold it.

The next article in this series will detail what to consider when pre-planning your own funeral and explain the difference between pre-planning and pre-arranging.