Why you should think about your funeral – even if you feel it’s too early

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No one wants to think about the end of their life – however far off it may seem. But while it might be upsetting for you and your loved ones, making arrangements for your funeral can save your family a lot of stress and financial worry in the long-term.

A 2013 research report showed that the average cost of a UK funeral has risen by 80% since 2004, clocking in at £3,456*. Funeral costs can vary regionally too, so if you live in London the cost may be much higher. If you don’t make adequate preparations, your family could end up footing the bill for your funeral – so it’s never too early to broach the subject.

How to talk about your funeral

Talking to your nearest and dearest about your funeral may be distressing for all concerned. So it’s important to introduce the subject in a way that’s comforting, while still being clear about your wishes. It helps to reassure them that you’re not sick or afraid that you’ll die – rather, they need to know that you’re simply trying to be prepared and organised for the eventuality.

If you’re unsure of how to begin the conversation, try taking an indirect approach. For example, perhaps you’ve recently been to a funeral of a friend or family member, or you’ve seen a real-life or fictional funeral on television. You could refer to this and use it as an example of how you might want or not want your own funeral to be conducted.

Other people prefer to be more direct. If you’ve already laid out your funeral wishes in your Will, it may help to have a copy of that section with you during the conversation for reference. If you haven’t made a Will, you should plan to do so soon. A Will can provide real peace of mind for you and your family, helping to make sure your wishes will be carried out when you are no longer around. But until that time, consider having a written list of your funeral plans to hand when talking to your family about it. It may be convenient to have notes to refer to if you’re having trouble remembering the details.

Planning for your funeral

Some people find it relatively easy to talk about their funeral, but much harder to plan it. If that sounds like you, there are several web-based guides that can help. For instance, SunLife – the specialist in over-50s life insurance – has an accessible guide with several useful tips, practical information about financial planning and a checklist. It’s called ‘How to Plan For Your Funeral‘ and you can download it online.

Try discussing your likes and dislikes with someone who knows you well. For example, is there a particular song or piece of music you’d like to be played at your funeral? Or perhaps there’s a reading, poem or religious extract that means a lot to you. You’ll also need to think about whether you’d like a religious or a secular funeral, and you may even wish to meet a cleric or celebrant in person to talk about your options. Additionally, it’s important to consider whether you want to buried, cremated or maybe donate your body to medical science. And if you’d like to be an organ donor, you can use the NHS Organ Donation website to make sure you’re on the list.

It may sound daunting, but actually talking about your funeral will ease your tension in the long run. Having this conversation means that, when the worst does happen, there’ll be no confusion at all about your wishes and it takes away difficult decisions from loved ones.

SunLife offer Over 50s life insuranceterm life insurance, Funeral Plans, ISAs and Wills. For more information, visit


*Source: Average of quotes for standard cremation and burial arrangements from a sample of funeral directors. Mintel Research Consultancy. June 2013.

SunLife is a trading name of AXA Wealth Services Ltd which distributes financial products and services. AXA Wealth services Ltd is a company limited by shares and the registered office is at 5 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1AD (registered in England No 02238458) . AXA Wealth services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration No 465753)



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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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