Funeral Planning: Talking to Your Family About Your Cremation Wishes
If you feel strongly about cremation after you pass, then it is important to bring this up with your family sooner rather than later. Your family will probably want to honor your wishes, but they can only do this if they know how you feel.
Determine the Right Time
It may feel like there is never a right time to bring up your funeral and cremation wishes. However, the discussion is important, and there are times when it is appropriate to talk about cremation. You can try a couple different approaches, depending on how you and your family speak with each other. If they value the direct approach, or they tend to speak frankly about subjects, then just bring up the subject when you are ready. Other families may appreciate a more roundabout way of arriving to the subject cremation services and funeral planning. You can ask open-ended questions that stimulate a conversation about funeral pre-planning and memorial services; this will be the opportunity for you to voice your wishes. You might plant seeds in advance, rather than waiting until you are ill or injured. “You know, I’ve been thinking about being cremated when my time comes. How do you feel about that?” Add a little humor, if you want to lighten up the discussion. Give your reasons for choosing cremation over other options.
Prepare for an Emotional Response
Many people become very emotional when talking about their own death or the death of their loved ones. They may become angry, sad, bitter, or depressed. This is a normal reaction. Be prepared for a range of strong emotions during this conversation. Be gentle and patient with them. Listen to and understand any objections. Rather than argue, you might postpone the discussion for another day, but remind them that you will bring it up again. Comfort your family and assure them you want to make the funeral planning process as easy on them as possible.
Create a Funeral Plan
It is best to include a funeral plan within your will or family trust so that your family will respect your cremation wishes. If you have any specific requests, such as a certain type of cemetery service or memorial epitaph, you would include it in this plan. Make sure the executor of your will or administrator of your trust understands your requests. California law gives to your agent under a power of attorney for health care the first priority for following your final wishes. Choose a person who understands your wishes and agrees to carry them out.
Inglewood Park Cemetery has been assisting people in the Los Angeles area with their cremation arrangements for nearly 100 years. It is our continued mission to make the process of cremation as simple and respectful as possible. If you or your family have any questions, please call our Memorial Counselors at (310) 412-6500.