How to discuss your funeral plans with your family

- 16/11/21

Although death is something we all face, it’s something few of us feel comfortable talking about - especially with those who’d be most affected by our passing. But while it’s completely natural to want to shield your loved ones from thinking about life without you, talking to them about your funeral wishes in advance can save your family a surprising amount of hardship when the time comes.

Why is it important to talk about death and funerals?

For many, when arranging the final farewell of someone who meant much to them, they want to make sure they’re sent off in a way that would make the deceased proud. And when grieving, the last thing we want to be worrying about is whether or not we’re doing the right thing and whether or not we can afford to do so.

Unfortunately, over 50% of us have admitted to feeling pressure to ‘get things right’ when arranging a funeral[1]. By talking with our loved ones in advance, we can ensure they know just what to do at our funerals.

How to approach the topic

Bringing up the subject of death out of the blue can be a shock to some people, especially those who don’t like thinking about it at all. For some, a loved one starting discussions around death can cause worry that their death may be imminent. It’s important to put your family at ease as much as possible when you talk to them about your funeral plans.

If your family is comfortable discussing funeral arrangements, try sitting down with them to talk through your ideas. You can let them know your wishes and figure out what’s right for you together.

Alternatively, if your family is less receptive to the idea of discussing funerals, try looking for opportunities to naturally introduce the subject without ringing alarm bells. For example, if you’re with family and a song plays on the radio that you would like to have played at your funeral, mention it to them. Similarly, if you see funerals played out while watching television and there’s something you particularly agree, or disagree with, let them know. This will help to plant the ideas in their mind.

Write your thoughts down

If you have specific plans as to how you want the funeral to run, try writing them and give them to your family. By writing down your thoughts and passing them on to family, you can avoid having to verbalise your thoughts if you were unable to have the conversation out loud. A written list of wants gives your loved ones space to read them at a time when they’re ready, whether that be alone or in your company at a later date.

If you’ve taken out a prepaid funeral plan, check to see if they provide any literature for your loved ones to make them aware of your plans and prepare them for what to expect. All of Distinct Cremations’ funeral plans include the provision of a family pack, which contains the details of your plan’s inclusions and any extras you’ve made provisions for.

Let them know sooner rather than later

Although putting your wishes onto paper via a will may seem like a savvy way to let your family know your wishes without having to speak to them about it, we don’t recommend doing this. Depending on circumstances, your family may not be invited to learn the contents of your will until after the funeral has taken place. In instances such as these, your family may feel unnecessarily upset if they discover requests in your will that weren’t incorporated into the funeral.

The sooner your family are aware of your desires, the more time they have to prepare and come to terms with your wishes and avoid any familial disagreements, especially if you’re planning something unconventional or new to them, like a direct cremation.

Based on research we conducted recently, half of us agree that funeral plans are an excellent way to prepare for the future, but a small number of us actually have one in place. If you would like to plan ahead and pay for your funeral in advance, you could check our prepaid funeral plans.

Sources:

  1. SunLife (2021)

Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited (Prepaid Funeral plan provider) I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |