Western Fraternal Life :: A Frank Conversation about Funerals

A Frank Conversation about Funerals

Aug 05, 2016

Talking to your parents about their funeral wishes can make all the difference in the world. Parents, this is a practical way to show your children how much you love them. At a time when your children are grieving, they will not have to struggle to know your final wishes; they will know exactly what to do. Recently, I read an article where a man wanted to be buried on his motorcycle. This definitely required extra planning, but his wishes were honored, and yours should be too. Having this conversation can be a loving time to show each other how much you care.

Because you have already made the decision to purchase life insurance, you have taken care of the financial aspect of your funeral. This discussion helps with the emotional aspect. If you have more than one child, you want everyone to know where you stand to eliminate the possibility of arguments.

Pick the right time and place, and start with one or two questions. The conversation can evolve gradually, or can take place over several occasions. For example, my parents and I tend to discuss some of these things on Memorial Day weekend, when we are out visiting the cemeteries.

If either of you find it too hard to have this conversation, tear this page out and use it as a guideline to put your wishes in writing. Don’t let awkwardness stop you from making sure your final wishes are heard. Make sure to leave the written communication with someone you trust, or in a safe place it can be easily found or accessed. For example, a home safety deposit box is a safe location, but may not be easily accessed.

Things to talk about regarding funeral arrangements:

  • What kind of funeral would they like? 
  • Would they like to be buried or cremated?
  • If they would like to be buried, what cemetery would they like to be buried in?
  • Would they like any special music?
  • Do they have any special requests?
  • Would they like to be a part of writing their obituary?
  • Have they pre-paid any part of their funeral?

Additional items to discuss:

  • Are their beneficiaries up-to-date?
  • Do they have any other life insurance?
  • What about a pension, or a 401K?
  • What are their passwords to get into online accounts?
  • Do they have a will? Where is it located?
  • Do they need to set things up for you to gain access to their safety deposit box?
  • What are their thoughts about a “Do Not Resuscitate” order?
  • Do they have an Advance Directive? 
  • Do they have a Power of Attorney?
  • Are they an organ donor?

You don’t need to wait to have a frank conversation about funerals until you are older, or unwell. Take the time now to write down your own thoughts about the above subjects, and know that your family will have peace of mind in a stressful time.

Additionally, if you have not already finalized the financial aspect of your funeral, talk to a Western Fraternal Life agent about life insurance, or about the possibility of setting up a WFLA Funeral Expense Trust.*

*Not available in all states, and face amounts will vary. Talk to your agent for details.

Category: insurance

Shannon Daugherty

ACS, FLMI, Member Programs Assistant

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