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How can I plan ahead for my own funeral?

Let’s be honest – nobody feels comfortable talking about death. Many of us find it too confronting and frightening. But as hard as it may be, it’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had. Do your family and friends know what you want when the time comes? What would happen if they were left to second guess your wishes? How would they cope at a time when they will be affected by their own grief?
Find time to sit down with your loved ones and begin that conversation. Perhaps you can start by writing some notes or instructions. This will be a huge gift, because your family and friends can find comfort in what you have chosen for yourself, knowing a major and stressful part of the funeral process is already prepared.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you want to happen to your body? (Burial, cremation etc)
  • What kind of coffin or urn would you like?
  • Where would you like your funeral or memorial ceremony to be held?
  • What style of ceremony would you like?
  • Have you written an autobiography or life story? (Do you have notes or a video or audio recording?)
  • Which funeral director have you chosen, if any?
  • Have you given your funeral director clear directions in advance of what you want them to do?
  • Do you have a will?
  • What are your goals and priorities for your funeral or memorial?
  • Have you spoken to those close to you about your wishes?

(Thanks to my celebrant colleagues Elizabeth Trevan and Kathryn Breusch for this list, which they hand out as part of their “How to have a fabulous funeral” workshops.)