Talking to Your Parents about Burial Pre-Planning

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National Free Planning Kit

Parents sometimes say in passing, “When I die, I want this,” or, “Whatever you do, don’t let me be buried there.”  A full discussion about burial planning may never arise between parents and adult children, but there are dozens of questions to answer when the time comes.  All too often, grief-stricken adult children are left to make these important decisions.

Saying goodbye to your parents is not something anyone would like to think about, but discussing burial plans now will enable you to grieve properly and ensure that their final wishes are met.  Engaging your parents to consider the burial planning process may be difficult, but, think of it this way: death is a lifecycle event. And like other life cycle events, death is something that deserves proper thought and consideration in regard to burial planning. 

Start with Yourself

Compounding your grief with the stress of planning a burial can push you deeper into despair at a time when you are already experiencing unthinkable loss. After a parent’s passing you need to be surrounded by loved ones, update friends and family on funeral and burial services and, in many cases, make arrangements with your employer to ensure that you have adequate time away from your job—not scrambling to make burial plans.

Consider Your Parents’ Final Wishes

When you lay your parents to rest, you want to ensure they will be memorialized in a way that fits their preferences. When planning a burial after your parents pass, you can be overwhelmed with questions: Which cemetery should we choose? What should the marker or monument say? Who will give the eulogy and serve as pallbearers? Should an inspirational passage or scripture be read at the memorial service?

There are also more logistical questions to answer, such as the method of burial (cremation, aboveground or underground burial), the location of the gravesite in the cemetery and the style of casket or urn, among many others. Burial planning enables your parents to make all of the important decisions, alleviating your stress at a difficult time—and prevent you from emotional overspending.

Reviewing burial options with your parents in advance will ensure their final resting place will meet their wishes and allow you to both grieve and fully celebrate the memory of their lives when the time arrives.