Had the funeral chat? Here’s why you should

How to avoid the imperfect send off

You know your partner well, right? You finish their sentences and probably understand them better than anyone else. But if they were asked what kind of funeral they’d want, do you know what they’d say?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. According to our research, only 1% of people knew all of their loved one’s funeral preferences. Can we assume then that 99% of funerals end up not as the deceased would have wanted? It’s highly likely, especially when 3 in 5 people don’t even know whether their loved one wanted a religious or non-religious service.

We put the research to the test

Surprised? We were. So we decided to put our research to the test. We asked a range of couples about their partner’s funeral wishes - in a ‘Mr and Mrs’ game show style. Amazingly even couples who’d been together for along time had no clue about their partner’s funeral wishes. Many didn’t even know if their other half wanted a burial or cremation. Watch for yourself.

While some of the reactions in this video may raise a smile, it’s hard to deny that there’s a serious point to be made. We Brits don’t like talking about our funerals or death, even to those closest to us.

Why it’s important to talk about your wishes

Admittedly, funerals aren’t really a topic of conversation for the dinner table. None of us like to think about dying, let alone talk about it. But it really does help to have a conversation about our intentions and to record our wishes for safekeeping.

Telling someone what you’d like is the only way to ensure you get the funeral you want. You may have a very clear idea of how your funeral should be, right down to the music, readings and flowers, but you don’t say a word about it. Sound familiar?

What if you don’t have any wishes

Perhaps you’re the kind of person who isn’t fussed about your funeral. But however you feel about it, your loved ones will want to say goodbye properly and do right by you. They’re not going to bury you under the hedge however often you say it. So give them a few clues, even tell them what you don’t want, to give them a place to start at least.

Other important decisions

Let’s face it, we’re all going to die one day and our funeral isn’t the only thing to consider. Think about your financial affairs and future medical care. By setting up a lasting power of attorney you can give someone you trust the authority to make decisions for you if you weren’t able to do so. Our friends at Dying Matters have created a short film called ‘I didn’t want that’, that provides some powerful food for thought on this subject.

Heading towards an imperfect send off?

If our video has got you thinking about your funeral (and made you a little nervous about your partner’s decision-making ability!), now could be the time to take the first step and document your choices.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a perfect way to get the ball rolling.


Time to stop burying our heads in the sand

Sharing our funeral wishes is something all of us should do. After all, is it fair to assume family or friends will ‘just know’ what we want? And even if we don’t give two hoots what happens when our time’s up, does it follow that our loved ones will feel the same way?

To avoid an imperfect send off or leaving people unsure of what to do for the best, document and share your thoughts. It really could make all the difference. Come on everyone. It’s time to take the plunge and have the big ‘F’ chat. If not for yourself, do it for them.

If you’ve found this article helpful, you may also like to know more about the importance of funeral planning and the cost of a funeral in the UK today.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50 life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.