Planning your funeral

Some people may find planning their own funeral difficult, while others feel comforted knowing that it will be carried out according to their wishes and that their family and friends won’t have to guess what they would have wanted. Still others think funerals are for the family, and should be organised by them.

Planning your funeral can be as simple as discussing your wishes with your family and friends, or you can lodge a plan with a funeral director of your choice or record them in your will. The executor should follow the directions in your will, but is not bound to do so.

You can personalise your funeral to suit your cultural or spiritual beliefs. You may have just a few simple requests for music you want played or poems you’d like read, or you may have ideas for the full service. You can also choose not to have a funeral at all or to have a non-traditional event such as a celebration of life.

If you change your mind, you can alter these arrangements at any time.

If you feel you need to make preparations but you can’t do all the work, or prefer not to, talk to a social worker or pastoral carer, who can help you work out the options.

To prearrange or prepay a funeral, talk to a funeral director.

You can download a pre-planning information form from the Australian Funeral Directors Association  or Funeral Directors Australia.

It’s important to let your family know of any arrangements you have made. Copies of a prepaid funeral contract should be provided to members of the family or filed with your will.

If you would like to know more about the practical and emotional aspects of dying, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for a free copy of Facing End of Life: A guide for people dying with cancer, their family and friends, or download a digital copy from this page.

     − John

This information was last reviewed in December 2016
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