Your headstone should be a celebration of your life. It should let future generations know what was important to you. Put some thought into it now, while you are still on this side of the curtain, so that your relatives will not be forced to hire an expensive medium to ascertain your wishes, or—worse yet—exercise their own dubious taste in choosing a headstone for you. It’s your grave, after all.

Instead of the date of your birth, have the engraver mark the date on which you wish you were born.

Pictures may now be added to most popular headstone designs at very little additional expense. The logo of your favorite band will remind your descendants that you had impeccable taste.

Haiku has been shamefully neglected as a medium for thoughtful epitaphs.

The Neo-Puritan style has been very popular of late (see illustration). In taking inspiration from historical models, however, remember to keep it cheerful. The last thing anyone who visits a cemetery wants is to be depressed.

You can now have a QR code engraved permanently on your headstone, so that your descendants centuries from now will be able to call up your life story on their iPhones.

Looking for an inexpensive way to erect an impressive monument? Assign an art student to the project. You can charge the student for the experience and make her pay for the materials as well.