How to discuss final wishes with a loved one

Hand of man hold candle flame light at night with bokeh at a funeral

No one likes to think about their own death, whether in relation to your own or that of a loved one. This often makes it difficult to discuss this emotional subject with those close to you.

But it’s important to have a conversation about your final wishes, whether that’s about designing your own funeral order of service, discussing what kind of service you want, or whether you want to be cremated or buried.

While talking about death can be difficult, it can also be a way to show your loved ones how much you care about them and trust them. At Memorial Stationery, we’ve outlined a few helpful tips on how to approach this tough conversation.


Choose the right time and place

You don’t want to spring this conversation on your loved one out of the blue. Instead, choose a time when you’re both relaxed and there are no distractions.

It’s best to make sure that you won’t be interrupted by pets, children or other distractions or problems during this time. Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent and turn off any music. This difficult conversation should be handled correctly.

You might find it hard to address a loved one face-to-face and discuss a difficult topic such as this, so perhaps try and do it when side-by-side; walking in the park or on a car journey or even doing something menial like the washing together could help reduce any tension.

You might even want to consider writing down your wishes in advance so you can share them with your loved one during the conversation. When it comes to planning a funeral, there’s a lot to consider and to go through.

Plan what you want to say

As mentioned, it’s recommended that you plan what you want to say ahead of time and be prepared for emotions to come up. It’s okay to cry or be angry – death is a difficult topic to discuss.

Be honest about your wishes and explain why you want what you do. For example, if you want to be cremated, you might say that you don’t want to burden your loved ones with the cost of a burial, or that you believe it’s more environmentally friendly.

If you’re unsure about what you want, that’s okay too. You can always change your mind later. However, outlining a basic plan for the order of service to take place for the funeral will help ease the pressure on your loved ones to know what you want.

Conversely, if your loved one wants to talk to you about what they want, then make sure that you think about what they might say and listen to their wishes.


This conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking, whether you are discussing your funeral or your loved ones. Pay close attention to what your loved one says and try to understand their point of view.

Respect each other’s wishes, even if you don’t agree on everything. It’s important to respect each other’s wishes when it comes to funeral plans and other final arrangements. If they are interested in creating death announcement cards or are interested in a traditional funeral, it’s best to just listen closely and treat each idea with respect.

If you’re finding it hard to have this conversation, you might want to consider talking to a funeral director or other professional who can help you both plan for the future.


Be honest

When talking about death – especially that of a loved one – it’s okay to be scared or sad. In fact, being open about your feelings can help your loved one feel more comfortable talking about their own views on death.

The most important thing is to have the conversation so that your loved ones know what to do when the time comes. Ultimately, it will make things easier for them, and they’ll know that they are doing what you wanted.

Remember, talking about death can also be a way to show your loved ones how much you care about them.


Next steps

Discussions about final wishes may not be easy, but they are important. By having this conversation with your loved one, you can ensure that their final wishes – or yours – are respected and that you are both on the same page when it comes to funeral plans and other arrangements.

Once the discussions have been had, it’s best to start planning as early as you can on certain elements, such as location and funeral stationery. This may also help you to come to terms sooner with the death of a loved one.

At Memorial Stationery, we offer a free design service of all necessary funeral stationery, such as funeral memory boards, order of services and even funeral attendance cards. Our bespoke designs are fully customisable in our online editing tool, with templates readily available.

View our range of products and templates online today.