How to Start the Advance Planning Conversation with Your Loved Ones

If you’ve made your own funeral and cemetery arrangements in advance, you know the relief you’ll provide your loved ones in the future. But how can you inform them of your plans without upsetting them? Or, how can you let a loved one know that you’d like them to consider their own final arrangements? These conversations might seem tough, but they don’t need to be.

 

You know your family and how your loved ones might best respond to the topic. For some families, it might be a casual conversation over dinner. For other families, a formal meeting might be better.

 

Here are some tips to help you start the advance planning conversation with your loved ones:

  • Set a time to have the conversation. Schedule it as an appointment with your loved ones, whether you want to share your plans with them or ask them to make their plans to share with you.
  • Tell your parent or loved one that you want to ensure their final arrangements are done according to their wishes, and you need their help to make that happen.
  • Use the Personal Planning Guide, available from any Rose Hills Community Service Counselor. If you are planning your own arrangements, complete the guide and present it to your loved ones. If you are encouraging others to plan, present the guide to them and work through it together. Click here to request your copy.
  • Ease into the conversation. Questions such as “Have you ever thought about where you would like to be buried?” or “What type of funeral would you like to have?” may open the discussion to more details about your loved one’s wishes.
  • Take advantage of funeral-related opportunities. Attending the funeral of a friend, family member or colleague or watching a movie or television show with funeral scenes may naturally prompt the discussion with your own loved ones. Talk about what you liked or didn’t like about the services you saw or attended.
  • Tell your children or loved ones that because you care for them so much, you don’t want to burden them with difficult decisions when you’re gone. Tell them you’ve made your own final arrangements, and give them a written record of what they are.
  • Make it a family affair. Schedule a no-obligation, 30-minute appointment with a Rose Hills Community Service Counselor and invite your children along to participate in having questions answered and the selection of services, funeral merchandise and cemetery property.

Whether you’re sharing plans for your own final arrangements or encouraging loved ones to make and share their plans with you, the conversation about planning ahead is an important one that every family should have. While no one wants to think about their death or the death of a loved one any sooner than they must, having the conversation in advance alleviates the need for even more difficult conversations in the future.

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