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How to Talk to Your Family About Funeral Preplanning

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Funeral preplanning is something families across the country are starting to discuss and consider. One reason to preplan is to lift the burden off grieving family members. However, discussing end-of-life arrangements is a difficult conversation for most families. It’s a touchy subject, but necessary for the preplanning process.

Discussing your funeral with your family is necessary for them to know what to do when the time comes. The more they know, the better prepared they’ll be. It gives your family the opportunity to ask questions, make suggestions, and be at peace with your wishes.

Related Resource: Download the Seniors' Guide to Funeral Arrangements; How Preplanning Can Save Time, Money and Worry.

But how do you approach the subject of your funeral with your family? Here are some suggestions to make it easier.

Find the Right Time and Setting

The timing of the conversation makes a difference in the effectiveness of your message. Most families only want to discuss preplanning once. Find a time or occasion when everyone can be present.

Have this discussion where you’re all the most comfortable—most likely in your home. Turn off distractions like TV and cell phones to help everyone focus on the conversation. The tone and mood may become more serious than your usual get-togethers. Put in the extra effort to put everyone at ease.

Decide on an End Goal 

Know before going into the conversation what you’re trying to do. Are you explaining your decision to preplan so your family can carry out your wishes? Or would you like to get them involved in the process?

If your goal is to ensure your final wishes are met, let them know what they’ll need to do when the time comes. Tell them where they can find necessary documents and information. By the time the conversation is over, your family should know exactly what to expect.

If you’d like family members to involve themselves in your preplanning choices, ask questions that spark their interest. For example, ask them if there is a certain flower or color that comes to mind when they think of you, or if a certain song triggers fond memories.

This discussion will open your family members’ eyes to the importance and benefits of preplanning. Who knows? It may even spark them to consider preplanning for their families as well.

Emphasize the Benefits of Preplanning for the Family

Start off by explaining why you’re having the discussion. Reassure your family that everything is ok. They may become immediately worried once they hear the word “funeral.” Remain sensitive to their reaction, but reinforce the reasons for preplanning.

Talk about how preplanning will benefit them. Help them understand the importance of grieving immediately following your passing. With all decisions made, they will be able to mourn your loss without extra stress.

Your family will appreciate the financial reasons as well. By preplanning, you’re protecting them from a sudden financial burden. Funeral costs double every 10-12 years, and money is the last thing they should be worried about during their time of mourning.

Because this conversation can be stressful and difficult, many people find it helpful to talk to specially trained and qualified family service advisors. These advisors can walk you through the steps of preplanning your funeral and are happy to help facilitate the discussion with your family as well.

For more information on preplanning, visit our website for guides, testimonies and other resources. Or, click here to arrange services with one of our preplanning advisors. Scheduling an appointment is not an obligation to purchase. 

Funeral Preplanning Financial Guide

Image Credit: Alan Levine via Flickr


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