No one likes to talk about death, and broaching the subject of last wishes with your loved ones can be uncomfortable.
How can you make certain that your funeral plans are carried out? From big decisions like cremation or burial to small details like music selection, your wishes are important. As a St. Louis funeral home, we see a wide range of very avoidable but sad scenarios where planning could help families through the grief and shock of a death.
There are steps you can take to confirm these plans are honored.
Write it down.
- Write out your last wishes in a document that is separate from your will or trust. Be as specific as possible. You can include items such as your desire to be buried or cremated, whether you want a funeral service and where it should be held, what you want done with your ashes if you chose cremation, who you would like notified of your passing, and other details. Write down your last wishes earlier rather than later, and let your loved ones know where you are keeping the document. You can also make copies of the document and give them to your parent, spouse, child or other person you trust. You may also wish to keep a digital copy of it in the event you want to revise it later.
- Starting the discussion of your last wishes is often the most difficult part. Think about how your friends and family have handled serious conversations in the past to find the best way to begin. Often a direct approach is best. You may want to arrange a formal meeting with your family members to frankly discuss your last wishes. Most family members will appreciate your candidness. If you choose an indirect approach, it might be helpful to broach the subject with open ended questions like “Have you ever thought about what you want to happen when it’s your time?” Once the conversation is started, state simply and directly what your final wishes are. Your loved ones don’t want to think about what life will be without you, but remember that these conversations are a necessary part of the process.
Pre-plan and pre-pay.
- You may want to take matters into your own hands and pre-arrange your funeral or cremation. This process includes visiting a funeral service provider and making decisions about cremation, burial, and a memorial service. You can also reserve a cemetery plot or niche for your cremated remains. Headstones or monuments can also be pre-ordered. Making these choices and paying for them ahead of time provides peace of mind for you and your loved ones that your wishes will be honored when it matters most.
Whether you are pre-arranging or have an immediate need, the caring professionals at Bi-State Cremation & Funeral Service are available to answer any questions about the funeral planning process. Call us at 314-831-8868 if you have questions or wish to get started.