How To Talk To Your Family About Preplanning

Older man and his son discuss funeral preplanning.

Preplanning your own funeral arrangements is a meaningful way to plan for the future and provide comfort for your family when the time comes. However, there’s no easy way to talk about your own funeral. That’s the difficult truth. The people who love you might struggle with the idea of your death, and this conversation has the potential to bring up many unpleasant and unfamiliar emotions.

These are natural and healthy ways to feel. And while you can’t change the way your family feels about this topic, you can use gentle language that keeps their feelings in mind, and approach the subject as a conversation, so that your family and friends know that their input and feelings are valid, and matter to you.

Preplanning has the potential to be a great comfort to your family when the time comes. But if you don’t approach the topic with care, it can be divisive, and even distressing. Above all, as you go through this process, it’s important to remember there’s no “wrong” way for you or your family to feel. All emotions are valid.

Below are some ways to introduce this topic with the people who love you.

Timing Is Everything

It’s important to keep in mind that, because this is a sensitive topic, “when” you bring it up is as important as “how.” You might consider easing into the conversation by bringing up a related topic, so that the idea of your funeral isn’t so uncomfortable to your family. For example, if you’ve recently attended a funeral, you might talk with your family about what you liked or didn’t like about it.

What’s most important is that there aren’t major distractions or other topics that currently require your family’s immediate attention. It’s best to choose a time and place that are comfortable for everyone, and where everyone can feel safe to express their emotions and voice their opinions.

Their Input Matters

Preplanning is a wonderful way to express yourself through your final arrangements. However, the truth is that your family and friends are the ones who are going to be there. They might have some ideas about how to make your funeral services a greater source of comfort for them. Being a thoughtful listener will be an important part of this process, and a meaningful way to make everyone feel comfortable during what might be a difficult conversation.

Seeking out and putting value on your family’s thoughts about your funeral arrangements can make this conversation feel approachable, and can help your family feel involved. However, at the end of the day, these are your funeral arrangements, and you shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what’s important to you. Compromise only when that feels right.

Research And Ask Questions

There are many things to consider when preplanning your funeral services. Having a good idea of what’s important to you and what you value most will make beginning this conversation easier.

You should be able to talk with your family about which parts of your funeral services are non-negotiable, and which you’d like their thoughts on. For example, if you know you’d like to have religious services, but are unsure whether you’d like to be buried or cremated, you can ask your family which would be a greater source of comfort for them. Would they like to have a place where they can pay their respects far into the future? Or would a scattering ceremony better fit their emotional and spiritual needs?

It’s ok to not have all the answers at once. Thinking about your own funeral might feel overwhelming, and it’s difficult to know where to start. Don’t be afraid to do research, and please reach out to us. We know this can be difficult, and we are here to help in any way we can.

Farris Funeral Service Is Here To Help

Your preplanning journey will be a highly personal process, but you might have questions along the way. Please don’t hesitate to call us at any time at (276) 623-2700. When you’re ready, we’ve made it easy to begin preplanning. Simply fill out this form, and we will be in touch.


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19415 Lee Highway, Abingdon, VA

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