Having the “Other Talk” about Burial Planning

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National Free Planning Kit

September 11, 2014

In Tim Prosch’s book, “The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with Your Children about the Rest of Your Life,” readers are reminded that important lifestage talks don’t end when their children move out of the house.

You know “the talks” Prosch references—some of the questions your children threw at you as they were growing may stopped you in your tracks and required some uncomfortable or difficult conversations, but they were necessary.

Prosch delves into the financial realities of aging, and the notion that parents should initiate the conversation with their children about their long-term care and finances.  He suggests parents discuss a designated medical advocate, end-of-life instructions and financial details regarding potential long-term care.

Another important topic to broach – and one that may even be more sensitive for some children – is considering your burial options and making final arrangements.  So, how do you start this conversation? We’ve come up with a few suggestions to make this tough talk a little easier:

1. Prepare Your Family

Mentioning references to your final arrangements in passing (think lines like: “when I die, I want a bagpiper at burial…) may seem like you’re expressing your final wishes, but there is more to burial planning than one may think.  Before you have “the talk” you should let your family know that you will be discussing a sensitive subject. They need to be prepared to consider a reality they may not want to think about, but a reality nonetheless.

2. Pick a Relaxed Environment

Consider having the talk doing it in a relaxed environment, but perhaps not in a home where you raised your family.  Talking about your final wishes may be more difficult when your children are sitting around the same table you shared so many family meals, or surrounded by sentimental objects; it may make the process more emotional.

3. Do Your Research

You know what they say: the best offense is a strong defense.  If you try to start a conversation about burial planning with your children, they may try to shut you down right away— perhaps a response like “you’re too young to think about that!” If you’re prepared for the conversation with information about prepaid burial plans and potential cemetery locations, it will be harder for your children to ignore the fact that you want to iron out your final wishes.

While starting the conversation about your final arrangements may seem uncomfortable at first, it can be worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing your burial plans are arranged.