How to Talk to Your Loved One About Their Final Wishes

January 31st, 2022

Pre-planning a funeral can be a stressful endeavor. Not only are you helping your relatives say goodbye to a departed family member, but you must ensure that the funeral adheres to the deceased’s final wishes to not upset your family. You can acquire a much better understanding of a loved one’s preferences for a final arrangement while they’re still alive, but that too can be a complex process. Learn these tips on discussing final wishes for memorial services with a loved one.

Prepare Yourself In Advance

Before you approach your loved one about their final wishes, you should make a list of crucial details you don’t want to forget during your conversation. For example, having a written record of everything they want for their final arrangements can help pre-planning a funeral much easier. Other details you shouldn’t forget to include the locations of your loved one’s legal documents, such as their will.

It is also beneficial to mentally prepare before speaking with your loved one. Talking about the end of someone’s life, especially of a family member, isn’t an easy task. Consider asking another family member or one of your close friends to practice with you beforehand so you can grow more comfortable asking the necessary questions.

Approach Them Comfortably

After making your preparations, start taking steps to speak to a relative about their preferences for final arrangements. Given how emotionally-sensitive the subject matter is, you should ask their permission first; asking them touchy questions out of the blue can be disrespectful and make them worry. Additionally, try finding a comfortable location for the conversation to occur, whether at home by the fire or walking in the meadows at their favorite park.

Timing is also a crucial factor when asking a loved one about their final arrangements. Asking while they are gravely ill or in poor health is both problematic and disrespectful, as they might think you are giving up hope on them recovering. Instead, begin the conversation while they are still in good health, which will help your loved one feel more comfortable when listening to your questions. Further, consider asking them during the holiday season, as family members typically meet up this time of year.

Speaking with a Loved One

While you might come to your relative with a laundry list of information you want answers for pre-planning a funeral, you shouldn’t make the conversation feel like an interrogation. Treating the discussion as a casual conversation will help them feel more at ease and give them a chance to spend more time with their family and reminisce about the past. 

Also, you should be patient and listen to their last wishes as carefully as you can. Not only will this provide accurate details for pre-planning a funeral and their final wishes, but it will also demonstrate that you respect their ideas and requests. Even if you don’t acquire all the information you want, you don’t have to settle for a single talk. Having an ongoing conversation with your loved one about their last wishes will help ensure that the conversation isn’t too strenuous for them. 

If your loved one requests a traditional burial in Philadelphia, PA, consult McCafferty Funeral Home for assistance. Our low-cost funerals will help you properly say goodbye to a loved one without negatively impacting your budget.


For more information about planning a burial or to schedule a consultation, please call 215-531-5014.

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  • This is the only funeral home my family has ever used…

    The team at McCafferty Funeral home made this extremely difficult process a breeze. Thank you Mr. Mark & Lisa and Koryn you guys were so wonderful and understanding. I highly recommend this wonderful place.

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