America is a nation of planners. Americans plan their vacations, retirement, careers and even plan right down to daily life. But, of the two "inevitables" in life - death and taxes - tax planning receives the majority of attention.
And while you might be able to avoid paying taxes, you're not going to have much luck avoiding death, yet less than 33 percent of Americans actually pre-plan their funeral.
An overwhelming majority of Americans - 95 percent - say a funeral service is important in honoring and celebrating the life of a loved one. Even individuals who would choose cremation indicate they want some type of gathering service for families and friends to share memories together, according to the research conducted by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council.
The act of having a funeral service is absolutely critical to the grieving process, says grief counselor Sherrie Williams.
"Many of us don't want our funeral to be a fuss for our loved ones, but the support that is provided during a gathering has proven to help families deal with the grief and loss more effectively," Williams says.
The rise in cremation has changed the way funeral professionals operate.
Funeral homes now offer many different ways to accommodate the growing demand for cremation, while still helping extended families come together to share the loss and the stories of a life well lived.
"Many families are surprised to learn that they can have cremation, but still have a more traditional funeral gathering with visitation and even religious rituals," says Bill Backman, III, president of Aurora Casket, the largest family-owned casket supplier in America.
Backman says that anyone seeking to begin the pre-planning process should understand all of their options and funeral directors can provide the best information. Information is also available online.