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Having a say in your own funeral

Last Updated at February 25th 2022
End of life planning should include what you want to happen at your funeral, as funeral wishes can be quite personal. Many people don’t realise your funeral can be as unique as you are!

Key points:

  • Putting your own personal touches on your own funeral can help your family and friends properly farewell you
  • Write down what you want to happen after your die, as it can ensure your personal wishes are followed at your funeral or discussions on burial
  • A funeral advocate can assist you in understanding the process of arranging your wishes for your funeral
Older lady browsing funeral planning options
Make time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes for your funeral and make sure it is in writing somewhere. [Source: Shutterstock]

It can be difficult to talk about with your friends and family, however, it is an important conversation to have to make sure your wishes are upheld after you die.

Your family should understand and know what you want for your funeral and if there are any specific things you would like to have.

This means your loved ones can remember you as you were through the things you loved over your lifetime. It may even help family and friends mourn, knowing that you had a say in your own farewell.

What to consider

Everyone has different opinions on death and after death. Your life can have a heavy impact on these views, like religion, culture, or big personal events.

It is important that what happens after death is in line with your personal views, just as you would in your Advance Care Directive or Will, so you should be clear with your family and friends about what that could look like.

Some things to consider for your own funeral include:

  • Do you want a burial or do you want to be cremated? Or do you want to donate your body for science?
  • Where would you like to be buried or how would you like your ashes to be kept?
  • Where do you want the memorial service to take place?
  • Will the service be religious?
  • Will there be a wake?
  • Any personal things you want to happen at your funeral service such as playing specific music or bouquets of your favourite flowers?
  • What funeral director do you want to go with?
  • Have you made any arrangements regarding cost of your funeral?

Make time to talk to your loved ones about your wishes and also make sure it is written somewhere and someone knows about it. It can be a good idea to store your funeral wishes with your Will so it doesn't get lost.

Planning parts of your own funeral can also take some of the stress off of family and friends who would normally organise the whole process themselves.

Funerals can be expensive, so if you are intending to arrange your own, or part, funeral, it may be beneficial to have an idea of what it may cost and potentially how it might financially impact others around you.

Funeral advocacy

If you're finding it confusing or overwhelming to think about your funeral wishes, let alone plan for it, a funeral advocate may be able to help you through the process.

A funeral advocate can give you guidance and emotional support when planning a funeral. They will take a personal approach and get to understand you and what is important to you on your final journey.

They can assist with:

  • Explaining all your options
  • Choosing a funeral director that will suit your needs
  • Documenting your final wishes
  • Saving money on funeral costs
  • Making logical decisions, not emotional decisions
  • Knowledge of alternative funeral options, like beach services or funerals at home

A funeral advocate can take emotional decision-making out of the equation, so you can make the right decisions for your own funeral or for someone you love.

You don't have to be ill or dying to discuss funeral planning either. You may just want to be prepared for when the time does come, to not overload your family in an already emotional time.

Funeral advocates are not funeral directors, so they don't actually handle the funeral itself. It is an independent advisory service and they don't have alliances with funeral directors. This means they can ensure you get the right advice for you and that you are in control of your final wishes.

What things are important to you to have at your funeral? Tell us in the comments below.

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