Following the loss of a loved one, families experience a wide range of emotions.
In the midst of grieving, surviving family members are often left in charge of planning final arrangements if the deceased didn’t preplan beforehand. This can make an already difficult time even more burdensome on the family. And when rushed to make important decisions in a short timeframe, family conflict can arise during the planning process.
To avoid this situation, we explain how to handle disagreements when arranging services for a loved one, plus the benefits of preplanning.
1. Communicate and Compromise
Not every family member will agree with every decision. Accept that there will be differences from the start.
Some common issues that families may have to compromise on include:
- Method of disposition (burial versus cremation)
- Type of service (funeral, memorial or none)
- Location of service (funeral home, special place of significance like a country club, park or restaurant)
- Products (casket, cemetery plot, headstone, grave marker, urn or vault)
- Personalization options (cards, flowers, memorial candles, music, readings and unique requests)
Keep in mind if you choose cremation, Ohio law requires you to have proper verification that you have the authority to make a cremation decision for a loved one by filling out an authorization form. Many people believe that only one child or the executor is in charge, but those are common misconceptions, which often lead to arguments.
>>>Related Resource: Are You Authorized? What You Need to Know When Arranging a Cremation.
If conversations get heated, take a break from the planning process. When you decide to revisit the conversation, speak openly about your thoughts and feelings. Make sure everyone gets a chance to talk before finalizing arrangements.
2. Share Responsibilities
Did you know there are upwards of 125 decisions that need to be made following a death? Instead of having one family member make every decision, share the responsibility of planning final arrangements.
If a few family members feel passionate about personalizing the service, let them take the reins on organizing memory boards or picking floral arrangements, while others focus on selecting a funeral home or cremation provider.
Make sure you’re involving all necessary family members in larger discussions, like final disposition method or budget.
3. Consult a Funeral Director
Without documented final wishes from your loved one, family members must take on the responsibility of planning all arrangements.
While each person has their own idea of what your loved one would have wanted, determine final arrangements together as a family. This will allow everyone the chance to express his or her point of view, while landing on a solution in a timely manner. If you’re still struggling to come to a decision, consult a funeral director.
A funeral director can serve as a mediator when there are differing opinions and clashing requests. Not to mention, a funeral director can answer questions if you’re confused about your options with burial and cremation.
4. Respect Each Others Grief Journey
People react to death differently. Some family members may act out while coming to terms with their loss. This is natural. And while you may not agree with how they express their emotions, it’s important to be mindful of the situation at hand.
Focus on supporting them during this difficult time to prevent conflict from arising.
Save Time, Money and Worry: Preplan
Recording your final wishes prevents disagreements among family that could ultimately damage the healing process. The best way to avoid family conflict is to plan ahead by preplanning. When you preplan, your funeral arrangements are paid for and locked in at today’s prices, saving your family from sudden financial burdens and stressful decisions. For more information on the benefits of preplanning, download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements.