How to talk about your end of life wishes


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A guide to discussing the difficult topic of funerals and end of life with your loved ones.

It’s so important for families to be able to talk openly about their thoughts and wishes while we’re able to. It can be difficult for many people to know where to start, but trust us, it’s worth it. Having that conversation about your funeral wishes and how it should be paid for will give you a great deal of peace of mind, and will reassure your loved ones now and in the future.

To help you along, we’ve provided this step-by-step guide to broaching the topic with your loved ones and getting a financial plan in action.

  1. Find the right time to talk

If you’re not sure how to start the conversation, look for opportunities to discuss end of life wishes. Things like an acquaintance passing away or even a funeral on TV can be a prompt to talk about important matters.

  1. Explain why you want to talk about it

Lots of people don’t like talking about the end of life. They might shrug it off, or make a joke and change the subject. Try to be up front about why you want to talk about it. Explain why it’s important to you to share your wishes – and why you want to know theirs.

  1. Put pen to paper

If you or your family find it too upsetting to discuss, why not write down your thoughts as a starting point? It may be easier for people to read what you have to say, especially if you both have some time afterwards to think about everything before you have a face-to-face conversation.

  1. Take advantage of Free Wills Month

Every March and October, a number of charities come together to offer people aged 55+ the chance to have their wills written or updated for free. Not only does a valid will ensure your wishes will be respected, it also avoids potential disputes and legal complications for your loved ones.

This is also a good opportunity to let loved ones know that you have a will and where they can find it when the time comes.

  1. Address the costs

While conversations about the end of life can be emotional, don’t forget to also discuss the financial implications. The average funeral in the UK currently costs £3,897, according the 2017 Cost of Dying report. Avalon has estimated the future costs to rise over £6,000 by 2025.

Therefore it’s vital that you and your family have an appropriate plan in place to cover the cost of a funeral. You might consider discussing the benefits of a funeral plan as a way to secure the cost of funeral director fees at today’s prices.

  1. Plan a funeral as unique as you are

Sharing your funeral wishes with loved ones will help make sure that you get the send-off that you want. Even if you want a no-fuss funeral, letting them know your preferences will help reassure them when the time comes for them to plan your final farewell.

You can also record your funeral wishes when you take out a funeral plan. When the time comes, Avalon will share any special requests you’ve made so that your loved ones know exactly what you wanted.


About the author

With a Masters from the University of Bristol, Jessica Hanson has worked in the funeral sector for several years, following the latest industry trends and writing about end of life planning. Jessica has previously written as a blogger for the Huffington Post, covering topics such as death positivity, understanding grief and how funerals are changing. You can find Jessica on LinkedIn and Twitter.