Why People Don’t Plan Ahead for Funerals


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Life is full of to-do lists, errands, activities, hobbies and gatherings. While many of these things bring us great joy, some of them simply need doing.

While we may not relish taking ten minutes out of our day to fill the car up with petrol, it must be done. For many, planning ahead for funeral wishes is one of those things we just keep putting off.  Based on a recent survey 89%  of people in the UK feel that a discussion about their end-of-life wishes would be meaningful, but only 17% had actually made arrangements. So, what is it that keeps us from planning ahead for our funeral wishes?

I’m too young!  While it is true that you may be in your prime and have many years left to enjoy and fill with lasting memories, this is not a good reason to put off planning. After all, none of us actually know the number of our days. Even if you don’t sit down with a funeral director to go over all your options or set up a pre-paid funeral plan, you can:

  • Write down your wishes and let an emergency contact know where they are.
  • Start saving now for when the need arises. We have not yet found a way to live forever, and unless we do, one day your family will need to know your wishes.

I don’t have the money.  Did you know that it costs you nothing to prepare for your funeral. If you choose a funeral director, a knowledgeable staff member will sit down with you, free of charge to review all your options. As you review your options and determine what’s right for you and your family, you can get an accurate idea of what the funeral will actually cost. (However, keep in mind, costs will increase over time.) Even if you decide not to pre-pay for a funeral, ask a funeral director about their offerings, as this information will help you when you determine how the funeral will one day be paid for. You may find a better deal than you expected.

I’m too busy.  Life does have a tendency to pull us in many different directions. As with many things, we just have to make time for the things that matter. If we see the value in something we make time for it. Take exercise or higher education or work. We see the value in them, so we make time for them. Planning ahead for funeral wishes is a valuable use of your time. It gives you a chance to figure out how you want to be remembered while also giving your loved ones a special gift of love – the knowledge that they have honoured and remembered you as you desired. Knowing your wishes takes a lot of pressure off surviving family members during a time of pain and distress.

I don’t want to think about my own death. This may be more of a subconscious reason. In our everyday lives, we don’t really want to think about death, and that is perfectly natural. Someday, each of us will die. We can’t avoid the inevitable. Isn’t it better to be prepared? We plan ahead for many life events – weddings, parties, vacations, family visits, and so on. Many of us even prepare for the possibility of unexpected things by purchasing auto, home, or fire insurance. Doesn’t it make sense to plan ahead for an event that you know will happen? Especially if, by recording your funeral wishes, you can give your family members peace of mind that everything is taken care of?

Someone else will do it. This is true. Someone else could do it. You could leave everything to your surviving family members. But, ultimately, you’re the one who knows you best and can make the best decisions. Do you have a preference for cremation or burial? Will your loved ones highlight the stories that you would want highlighted? If you do prefer cremation, would you prefer an urn burial or some other option? Making all these decisions while also mourning a loss puts an emotional strain on surviving family members. On top of that, they will never know if they did the right thing. Yes, someone else could do it, but doing most of the decision-making for them is a much better option.

The Value of Planning Ahead. The reality is that by putting together a comprehensive plan, or just putting your general wishes in writing – you increase the likelihood that your family will find peace of mind during a trying time. Not only that, but you create a personalized service that honours your life the way you want. After all, one of the key aspects of a healing and meaningful funeral is personalization. Your life is unique and worth remembering. Help your family do it well. It’s never too early to plan ahead, though it could be too late.

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