How to start a funeral planning conversation

Estate planning attorneys see this all the time. Most clients avoid the funeral planning conversation, although advance planning can reduce stress at the time of grieving, save money and prevent family conflict.

We have ample evidence that the human mortality rate is 100%. It is not a question of “if” but “when” and the universe is not reaching out to let anyone know when that time is. How can you help your clients’ families prepare in this arena?

Consider recommending some of these tips to help start the conversation.

  1. Shop before you drop: If your car dies, don’t you think about what you want, do some research and shopping before you buy a new one? Apply this delicacy to funerals before someone dies. Knowing the costs and what’s involved saves money and reduces stress when a death in the family actually occurs.
  2. Watch a funny movie: Laughter can help overcome the discomfort of death. Laugh and learn by watching comedies like Betty Pledge, Elizabethtown, or Henry Levi’s Six Wives. Comedy can lead to conversation after the movie is over.
  3. Watch a dangerous video: DVD for 30 minutes Thinking about final arrangements and burial costs It shows how to make those phone calls to the funeral home without embarrassment. This DVD project by Christine Lord, trainee funeral director and hospice care volunteer, outlines the simple steps you need to take to make smart funeral planning choices and become a conscious consumer of funeral and burial costs.
  4. Lead example: If the parents or partner avoids planning the funeral, make your own plans and invite the other person(s) to be on the trip. It’s a great shopping trip. Anyone ready for a trip to the cemetery in search of burial plots?
  5. Play The Newly-Dead Game™: Based on the introduction to the classic TV show “The Newlywed Game,” this card-based game tests how well you know someone else’s last desires. You can use it to start the conversation with life partners, parents, or anyone else you might be called to plan a funeral.

Encourage customers to take time to think about how they would like to be remembered and celebrated. The family’s experience at a funeral or memorial service is much better when a loved one expresses their wishes and values ​​before their death. It is an important aspect of ancient planning.

Jill Rubin, Certified Secondary Specialist and The Doyenne of Death®, is a leading educator in the field of death education. She uses humor, funny movie clips, and out-of-the-box activities to teach end-of-life pre-planning. She curated the award-winning Before I Die New Mexico festival, and was honored by Albuquerque Business First with the 2019 Influential Woman Award. She is also the author of three books on end-of-life issues and a certified funeral celebrant. Her website is

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