It’s not a topic that is easy to talk about, but planning for what happens after you die is not something that you should avoid. Taking the time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes and wants can reduce the need for them to make difficult decisions on your behalf further down the line and could take away a lot of stress for them in what can be a tough time. It also ensures that your funeral takes place the way you want.
Reasons to talk
In life it’s not uncommon to plan and prepare for future events. Some things are prepared for on a daily basis, such as ironing clothes or making lunch for the following day. Others are planned further in advance such as monthly budgeting for bills or organising family holidays. And finally some things in our lives are planned much further in advance such as careers, marriage, children and retirement.
So why do we hesitate when it comes to planning for our funerals? Why is death such a taboo topic?
Research by Dying Matters shows that more than half of couples in the UK are unaware of their partners end-of-life wishes and less than a third of people have told anyone at all what they want to happen to them when they die.
But why? Some commentators suggest that this is a fairly recent change, and is in stark contrast to Victorian Britain. Back then the average lifespan was much shorter than it is today and death was ‘openly discussed’.
In today’s society we live much longer and everywhere we look there is chatter about how we can eat healthier, exercise more and change our diets to live longer lives. Unfortunately though, whatever we do to postpone death it is an inevitable part of life and so too are funerals. We can never predict what is around the corner and so somewhere down the line a conversation needs to be had.
There are many positive reasons for doing so, too. Foremost if no one knows your wishes then all the decisions will fall to someone else to make. That person may struggle with the weight of decision making, especially whilst they are themselves grieving. But by planning ahead you can give them a clear blueprint to work from when you are no longer around to tell them what you want.
Some people have a clear idea of how they would like their funeral to be. For example, they might prefer a traditional funeral that takes place in a religious building. Others would rather that there be no religious element at all. Some people would like to buried in a plot, while others would prefer cremation.
Another potential benefit to planning your funeral in advance is the financial dividends. Funerals are rising in price, and the average funeral is expected to cost as much as £6,900 by 2023.
But, by taking out a funeral plan now your price will be locked-in and any spare money saved could boost the inheritance your loved ones receive after you pass away.
So, there are lots of reasons to talk to your loved ones about what you want to happen following your death – but how do you go about starting that conversation?
How to approach the conversation
As death is such an unspoken about subject to many people it can be difficult to talk about it when you need to. There may be feelings of embarrassment and often sadness to contend with.
As is often the way, communication is the key. You should use your knowledge of your family to choose the right setting, method and tact to take.
For some people, a light-hearted conversation over dinner is easiest. Yet for others it could be deeply upsetting.
If you’re concerned then you could test the waters by asking their thoughts on burial and cremation, or a similar topic. You may find that they are happy to open up about these kinds of topics, or perhaps not. If they aren’t then perhaps a written letter of your wishes may work better. You can explain what it is and allow them to open it when they feel ready.
What to talk about?
It’s also important that you explain the reasons why you want to talk about your funeral plans. Try and help them understand that by discussing things now and putting plans in place, things will be easier for them later on down the line.
When someone passes away without sharing their wishes there are lots of questions to answer. Did they want to be buried or cremated? Did they want a religious service? What songs would they have liked to be played? Who would they want to be there? This is just the tip of the iceberg, and you should aim to give as much detail as possible about your wishes.
Formalise your plans
Finally, you should seek to formalise your plans by taking out a funeral plan with a funeral director. This means that when the worst happens your loved ones will have protection and your funeral will be taken care of.
Here at Cravens we have four award winning plans to choose from. We can help you to prepare and plan your funeral which will relieve pressure on your loved ones and ensures that your final wishes are met.
They are simple to arrange so please contact us on 0151 228 3900, or leave us a message through our contact us page by clicking here.Download article as a PDF