When Your Loved One Wanted A Destination Funeral
It becomes the responsibility of the living to honor the wishes of the deceased. Honoring those wishes can be far more straightforward when your loved one left a list of their funeral preferences, allowing you to simply follow these instructions. This emotionally difficult task can become extremely complex, though, if you learn that your loved one wanted a destination funeral.
Reasons for a Destination Funeral
A destination funeral is when someone has requested that they're laid to rest somewhere other than where they passed away. It might be the town they were born in, lived in for a portion of their life, or the destination might have no conceivable bond to your loved one—other than being a place they felt a connection to, for whatever reason.
Consult a Funeral Director
You will still need to consult a funeral director. Not all funeral homes will be able to accommodate a destination funeral, so you may need to make some inquiries. If possible, find a funeral home that can make the necessary arrangements on your behalf. This includes storage of your loved one's remains and transportation of the casket while adhering to airline policy and any relevant government requirements—both in the United States and the destination country, if applicable. A second funeral home will need to handle your loved one's remains at the destination while making the final arrangements for burial. One thing you will quickly learn is that a destination funeral can be quite expensive.
Ideally, your loved one will have made some financial arrangements for their destination funeral. This might take the form of funeral insurance or a prepaid funeral plan. You must also acknowledge that some family members and friends may not be able to travel for a funeral. If this is an issue, consider holding a memorial service so everyone has a chance to say goodbye. However, when there are no existing financial arrangements for the destination funeral, it might be beyond your means to cover the costs.
A Possible Compromise
If money is an issue, a compromise is possible. It can be more practical to have your loved one cremated, and for those ashes to be transported to the destination chosen by your family member. The cost of transporting cremated ashes is significantly lower than transporting a casket. Those who are able to travel can do so, with your loved one's ashes then scattered at the destination, along with a small memorial service. Check local regulations with regards to scattering human ashes.
Of course, you'll want to do everything you can to honor your loved one's final wishes. When this becomes prohibitively complicated, remember that there are less expensive ways to accommodate a destination funeral.
Contact a funeral home for more information.