Talking about your funeral wishes
Talking about death and funeral wishes is difficult, but a simple conversation with your loved ones can make all the difference for them when the time comes.
The importance of discussing death and your funeral wishes
There will be several decisions for your family to make when you pass away. From the type of funeral you would like to whether you would like your ashes to be scattered. All of these decisions can cause additional stress at what will already be an emotional time. Arranging the funeral of a loved one is a common cause of conflict between family members, particularly when there is uncertainty over what you would have wanted.
Unfortunately, many people will avoid discussing their funeral wishes for fear of upsetting themselves or their loved ones. However, discussing your final wishes may ease the pressure on your family members when that difficult time comes.
By sharing your funeral wishes with your family, you’ll also know that your requests will be honoured.
Starting the conversation about your funeral wishes
Talking about your death and funeral wishes can be emotional, and you or your loved ones may get upset. It's important to remember why you are having this conversation – it’s because you love them, and you want to relieve some of the pressure of planning your funeral when the time comes. You should reassure them that you don’t want to upset them, but you also don’t want them to be burdened with having to make difficult decisions about your funeral.
No one knows your family like you do. Although there is no right or wrong way when it comes to the expression of funeral wishes, you should assess whether a direct or indirect approach is the best way to start the conversation. The direct approach is to start by stating you would like to discuss your funeral wishes. You may suggest a time to have the conversation, which will allow your family members time to prepare themselves. You may even suggest a formal gathering of adult family members.
For some families, the indirect approach will work best. You may create opportunities to have the conversation regarding your own funeral, by mentioning someone else’s funeral you have recently attended or a funeral you have seen in the news.
Having a conversation about your funeral wishes will be easier to have if your death is not an imminent possibility. It is best to have this conversation with your family when you are in good health. However, if you are already in poor health, it is not too late to have the conversation with your family.
Expression of funeral wishes and what you might want to talk about
When talking about, or documenting your funeral wishes, you should first decide what type of funeral you’d like. A funeral is an opportunity for your family and friends to express their grief and celebrate your life. There are no rules when it comes to what a funeral includes – it should be entirely personal to you and those close to you. Your funeral doesn’t need to be large and grand if you don’t want it to be – it can be as simple and low key as you want.
The type of funeral you want
Do you want a burial, cremation or direct cremation (also referred to as a cremation without ceremony)? This is the most important consideration as this will give your loved ones a starting point to plan your funeral.
The funeral service
If you do not want a funeral service, a direct cremation may suit your wishes. A cremation will take place without any mourners present, or a service beforehand.
If you would like a funeral service, you should consider the following questions:
- Would you like a small family funeral, or a larger funeral?
- Would you like a religious or non-religious service?
- Is there someone you would like to lead the service?
- Are there any songs or hymns that mean a lot to you, that you would like played at your funeral?
- Who would you like to write your eulogy?
- Are they any readings or poems that you would like someone to read?
If you have no strong feelings about what happens at your funeral service, you should make it clear to those planning your funeral that they can choose what they feel is right at the time.
If you opt for cremation, what would you like your loved ones to do with your ashes?
After your cremation, your loved ones will be faced with the decision of what to do with your ashes. If there is somewhere special you would like them to be scattered or even buried, you can make your request known.
As cremation becomes a more popular option in the UK, there are also a number of creative and unique things you can do with ashes.
When it comes to discussing your wishes, it's also important to share your views on organ donation with your family. This decision can be distressing for them, if they are not clear about what your wishes were.
From 2020, all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when they die unless they have ‘opted-out’ or are in one of the excluded groups. If you choose to opt-out, you should inform your family of your decision.
End of life care
Whilst talking about your funeral wishes, it may also be worth talking about your preferences for end of life care.
Leaving your funeral wishes in writing
Even if you have discussed your funeral wishes with your family, it is important to document your wishes. This will make it easier for those grieving when the time comes, as it is easy to forget the conversations you may have had with them about your funeral, at an emotional time. There are a number of ways you can document your preferences, including leaving your funeral wishes in a will, although it's important to remember that this is not legally binding.
Not only will sharing your wishes relieve the uncertainty and stress associated with arranging a funeral, but it will also provide your family reassurance that they are commemorating you and celebrating your life in the way you would have wanted.
To share your funeral wishes with your family, simply fill out our contact us form and we’ll send you everything you need.
Consider a prepaid funeral plan
A prepaid funeral plan will provide you, and your loved one's peace of mind that your funeral costs and arrangements are taken care of.
By purchasing a funeral plan, there will be no more for your family to pay for the guaranteed services covered in your plan when it’s needed.
Simplicity offer three funeral plans, so you can decide if you want a direct cremation, a small funeral for just a few close friends and family to attend, or a larger funeral with a service arranged by your family. Learn more about our prepaid funeral plans, available from £1,495.
To share your funeral wishes or for help planning your own funeral ahead of time, contact us today.