Planning for Elderly Parents 

How to Talk to Your Parents About Burial Planning 

Discussing end-of-life decisions with your elderly parents can be awkward. Particularly if you are unsure how to even broach the subject. But helping your parents in pre-planning their funerals doesn't need to be a difficult conversation. In fact, by discussing burial planning with your parents now you can avoid financial woes and concerns over what your loved ones would've wanted in the future.

But how does one start the discussion in the first place? BurialPlanning.com has helpful advice on how you can do exactly that.

1 Fulfill their wishes

Fulfill their wishes

When a parent dies without a funeral plan, it's up to the adult children to express what they think the funeral should be. Everyone throws in their opinion on what they think mom would have wanted, but because we're relying on memories and assumptions, we rarely get all the details completely correct. Planning the burial with your parents means you get the details exactly as they intended.

2 Save money

Save money

Planning now means that you pay today's prices for a funeral. Due to inflation, a funeral will cost significantly more in the next 10-20+ years. So pre-planning now means you pay today's prices and don't have to worry about the future. You can also pay via an installment plan, making it similar to life insurance.

3 Peace of mind

Peace of mind

Planning a funeral now means you won't need to worry about it later.

Fulfill their wishes

When a parent dies without a funeral plan, it's up to the adult children to express what they think the funeral should be. Everyone throws in their opinion on what they think mom would have wanted, but because we're relying on memories and assumptions, we rarely get all the details completely correct. Planning the burial with your parents means you get the details exactly as they intended.

Save money

Planning now means that you pay today's prices for a funeral. Due to inflation, a funeral will cost significantly more in the next 10-20+ years. So pre-planning now means you pay today's prices and don't have to worry about the future. You can also pay via an installment plan, making it similar to life insurance.

Peace of mind

Planning a funeral now means you won't need to worry about it later.

Tips for Burial Planning Conversation Starters

There is no one right way to start the burial planning conversation. As you know your parents better than just about anyone, you likely understand what they will respond to best. The following conversation starters can be used verbatim, or you can simply use them as guidelines of the types of approaches that may work:

  • User Humor: While humor is obviously subjective, many people find that it can be a great way to diffuse an otherwise awkward situation.
  • Plan Your Burial First: Pre-planning your own funeral gives you an easy opportunity to start the conversation with your parents. Plus, you'll have a good understanding of the process and can likely answer many of their questions having gone through it yourself. Start the conversation by saying something like, "Have you ever heard of pre-planning your own funeral? I did it myself and it was so easy."
  • Ask About Family Traditions: Start the conversation by asking about burial traditions from your own family. Try something like, "Remember at Grandpa's funeral? Would you want something like that?" Then you can segue into discussing how planning allows you to choose all the details of your funeral now.
  • Ask a Funeral Director For Help: More so than just about anyone, a funeral director can help with convincing your parents that planning a funeral can be beneficial. Some funeral directors may even be willing to sit down and talk with you and your parents.
  • Say You Want to Respect Their Wishes: "Hey Mom and Dad, I know this conversation can be somewhat awkward, but I just want to make sure that we honor your wishes when the time comes. And planning it now as a family is the best way to do that."

What are the Planning Questions You Should be Asking

After starting the conversation, it's important to keep the conversation moving in the right direction. The following questions will help you steer the conversation and ensure that you get the information you need for burial planning for your parents:

  • Do you know what cemetery you would like your final resting place to be?
  • Have you set aside any money for your funeral?
  • Are there any specific burial products you want that we wouldn't know about?

You can also use our burial planning checklist for an easy and efficient way to discuss pre-planning with your parents.

Burial Planning Statistics

    • 69% of Americans over the age of 40 would prefer to plan their funeral and burial.
    • Despite this, according to a 2014 survey only 26% of people prepay for their funeral.
    • 46% of Americans age 40+ have had conversations with loved ones regarding their own funeral and/or memorial services.
    • Although it is not necessarily a legal requirement, often times the adult children will pay for a parent's funeral if no money is set aside.
    • In 10 years, the median cost of a funeral rose 28.6%. If the average cost of a funeral today is $7,181, a funeral in the coming decades could cost as much as:
      • In 10 Years: $9,234
      • In 20 Years: $11,874
      • In 30 Years: $15,270

    (Please note: These are simply estimates meant to illustrate how much funerals may cost in the near future, and to highlight the value in pre-planning a funeral and locking in today's prices.)