Funeral planning

As long as you’re young, fit and healthy, planning a funeral is silly, right? It’s something to worry about when you are much older. For most, designing their own funeral isn’t something they consider until they are well into their twilight years (if they think about it).

However, funeral planning isn’t just for older people. It’s for anyone who wants peace of mind knowing that their family won’t have to organise and, more importantly, pay for their funerals once they’re gone.

And, let’s face it—we are all going to die. While we hope our last breath is taken from our bed with our family and friends by our side, likely, this won’t be the case. In our teens and twenties, we might assume we are “bulletproof”; in our thirties and forties, life may seem too busy to worry about our funerals. But death is a part of life. No matter your age, it’s probably wise to be prepared.

Why do people put off planning their own funerals?

It’s a tricky subject.

Few people like to think about death, especially their own. It’s an uncomfortable subject and generally not one that people love to discuss. But it could be essential to consider, particularly if you have strict instructions on what should happen once you pass away. From the service to your remains, you may want to make sure people are aware of these wishes.

Writing these instructions down is essential. While having a Will, advance directive or funeral insurance is great, they’re no good if nobody knows about them. Telling those closest to you that you’ve made plans for your death and funeral—and where to find these documents—can help ensure that your wishes will be fulfilled. These might be hard conversations to have but remember: you won’t be around to tell your family what to do once you’re gone.

I’m too young to die!

You might still be in the prime of your life, but death can strike any time. Young adults have accidents and terminal illness that sadly impacts people of all ages. They aren’t pleasant topics to think about, but they are an unfortunate part of life.

For these reasons, you might want to do some funeral planning, even if it’s just making a short list covering your basic wishes. Think about how you’d like your remains treated (Burial? Cremation? Donation?), where you’d like to be buried or have the ashes scattered, and who should be there. You can also share wishes for details like which songs should be played at the service and what food to serve during the wake. That way, those around you can make your funeral service as individual as you are.

I’m just too busy!

There’s so much going on in our lives already—why would we devote time to death and dying? But, like anything important, you'll find the time if you really care about doing it.

It’s the same with planning a funeral. Start planning if how you’re farewelled is as essential to you as how you lived. However, if these things don’t matter much to you personally, they might still be necessary for your family. Leaving them in the best possible way could make all the difference as they grieve their loss.

Setting aside time for planning now could save your loved one time and headaches. Documents like a Will or power of attorney could smooth things over from a legal perspective. Financially, funeral insurance could help cover the service, burial costs, or anything else your family may need.

Why spend money on death?

It may seem odd to put money towards your funeral. After all, you won’t be there to see it. But your family will be there, and everything you leave behind will eventually become theirs—even your debts.

Since funerals can be expensive ($9,000 on average in New Zealand), families often struggle to pay for them. You may consider getting funeral insurance to cover all the costs associated with sending you off in style. Taking out a policy now could be a relatively small price to pay for giving the ones closest to you some peace of mind in the future.

There’s never been a better time to start planning for your own funeral. A funeral plan could simply ease the load for your loved ones in knowing that you have been sent off in the best way possible and also help ensure they aren’t left to carry a financial burden from your passing. So, why wait?