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How to start a conversation about funeral plans

28 Mar 2023 | 3 min read time

Whether you have a plan in place or would just like to get the conversation started, here are some tips for handling it in a sensitive and respectful way.

Don’t bring it up unexpectedly

Talking about mortality can be difficult and daunting at the best of times, don’t spring it on your loved ones unexpectedly. At a time you feel appropriate, let your loved one know that you’d like to discuss your funeral plans with them when they feel prepared for it. You might find it easier to bring up the subject by mentioning a funeral you may have recently been to or seen on TV, and perhaps saw something there that you’d like for your own. Give them some time to process this before you broach the subject again.

Set time aside

Depending on how much you already have planned, discussing your funeral plans could turn into a lengthy discussion. Ensure you have ample time to discuss what your preferences are for your send-off, speak face to face, if possible, and hold the discussion somewhere familiar and comfortable with a cup of tea or coffee.

Be honest

Discussing funeral plans should be an open and honest conversation. Be prepared that your loved ones might not agree with all your plans but let them know your reasoning and ask that they try to understand from your perspective. Your choice over burial or cremation may be one of the biggest points of contention but sharing why you’d like certain choices for other details e.g. a song that’s sentimental to you or why you’d like a certain dress code for a service, will help them understand that this is about you and your wishes. Start with the basics If you or your loved one find the discussion particularly difficult, you may find it easier to begin with a short chat on the most basic principles of funeral planning then discuss the finer details later. If you decide to do this during your first conversation, make sure to let them know:

  • Whether you’d like a burial or cremation. If you’d like to opt for something like an unattended cremation rather than a traditional one, this would also be an important piece of information to share and to let them know your reasons for choosing it.
  • What kind of service you’d like, i.e. would it be a religious ceremony?
  • Where you’d like a service to be held.

What to cover during a wider conversation

Making a mental checklist of all the important points you want to cover during the conversation is important as it’s unlikely that you will get this opportunity to discuss your funeral plans often if your family find it uncomfortable.

  • What your choice of service and first choice of venue may be whether it be a church, mosque, etc., or maybe you’d rather be celebrated with a wake.
  • If you’re opting for a burial, share the details of any burial plots you have purchased. If you’re opting for cremation, let your loved ones know what your preference would be for your ashes, if they should be kept or spread somewhere specific.
  • Where you keep any important documentation including your will and funeral plan.
  • If you already have a funeral plan in place, whomever you have chosen as your nominated representative should know to contact your chosen funeral director when the time comes. A nominated representative is a family member or friend that you’d like to make aware you have taken out a plan. The nominated representative has no authority to make changes to the plan.
  • You may also want to let your loved ones know your preferences for elements of the send-off e.g. flower choice, song choices or specific wording to be used in the order of service.

At Golden Charter, we have over 30 years of experience in the industry and are currently one of the largest funeral plan providers in the UK1. Our dedicated team are on hand to provide you with knowledge of all our funeral plan options with care and respect to allow you to make the best choice for you personally. Looking to start planning? Call us free or request your no-obligation information brochure.

Golden Charter

Smart Planning for Later Life

We are one of the largest funeral plan providers in the UK* and we work with over 2,900 independent funeral directors across the UK*. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service.

Find out more about how you can plan for the future with one of the funeral directors in our network.