Let’s face it, the whole concept of parents getting old and dying is not a nice one. It is often really hard to talk about but planning ahead is also really important. The popularity of pre-paid funeral plans continues to grow and figure out how best to approach and organise one for your parent or parents could save a lot of issues later. But how do you do it and what do you buy?
What is a Funeral Plan?
Before we look at how to talk about this and organise it all it is worth pointing out what a funeral plan is. A pre-paid funeral plan is basically a financial product that allows you to pre-agree the type of funeral and all the arraignments and pay for it up front. This means at the time of the person dies the pre-organised funeral is set into motion and undertaken by the companies themselves. The industry is one that has had its issues and some providers were not delivering on what people had paid for. However, the Funeral Planning Authority is an organisation that regulates the industry and makes sure all registered providers adhere to a strict code of practice which means they are a much safer bet. There are lots of different plans out there, some are paid in one go, some monthly, some pay for a part of the whole cost others are a lump sum to cover it all. Shop around and do your research before committing.
Why is a Funeral Plan A Good Idea?
Whilst this article is focusing on how to bring up the subject with parents it is often the children that do not want to deal with the subject. It is really important to get over that and deal with the issue. If no one does anything you may be stuck with not only losing a parent but also a very large bill too! Not only that but without a pre-agreed plan you may well be left trying to organise a ceremony not knowing what your parent would have wanted which can add another level of worry and upset to the situation.
How to Talk About Funerals and Dying
Bringing up this kind of subject is never easy and it can be a really big deal for all parties. It may go a number of ways:
- The parent may dismiss it and move on to another conversation.
- It may be taken as offensive and cause an argument
- It may be something the parent is happy you have brought up and happy to discuss
It may also be a number of different things in-between. If the parent tries to dismiss it then let it go but focus on bringing it up again in the future until they are happy to talk about it. It may be something they are thinking about but feel uncomfortable talking about. In the instance of the subject offending the parent moving onto to another subject is advisable along with an apology. What you really want to avoid is confrontation and argument because that will make it far harder to discuss in the future. In the instance of it being welcomed, you can move on to look at funeral plans, costs and how best to pay for them. The parent may want to contribute, or you may wish to cover it yourself. There is an almost infinite range of ways these kinds of conversations can go but it is important to understand how the parent feels and for them to understand how the child feels.
Do I have to Tell Them?
No but it would be best. Technically you may be able to take out a funeral plan on behalf of someone else, but they would then have no input into how it was all planned and it may not be something they would like. You also run the risk of them already having a plan and paying twice. It is important to discuss it for a number of reasons and while it may seem easier to just organise it without them knowing it may be problematic in the long run.
Plan Ahead in More Ways Than One
A funeral plan itself is planning ahead but it is important to plan the whole discussion in advance of it becoming a necessity. Don’t leave it until people are unwell or getting too old to understand it all. As long as the person is over 50 you can organise a funeral plan. Not many 50-year-olds will be worrying too much about dying so the conversation may well be easier. As we age we either become less inclined to talk about dying or more and it is a gamble that could lead to an upset.