Discussing Your Final Wishes
It is never too early to discuss your final wishes. Maybe you’ve never thought about it before, but it doesn’t hurt to give it some consideration. Would you want to be cremated? Would you want your loyal dog to go to your kids or best friend? What about funeral services? The most important things to you should be considered, material or otherwise.
Bringing up the conversation can be tough, though. It’s a delicate topic, and some family members may feel uncomfortable addressing the idea that at some point, you might pass on without them. But if you stay honest and even joke around a bit, things may feel lighter and easier. In fact, if you’ve ever purchased Life Insurance or signed up for a retirement plan, you’ve already designated beneficiaries to receive your death benefit, which is very similar to expressing your final wishes.
Be firm in what you want. Don’t let anyone coax you into changing your ideas based on something that is “easier” or “cheaper” or even more expensive. If you’ve been envisioning a funeral with a bronze-plated casket and a burial at the beautiful Lakeview Cemetery all your life, don’t cave for cremation because your son was planning to spread your ashes in Lake Erie. It’s your life, so your say matters most.
Discussing your final wishes can even be relieving, in a strange sort of way. We often fear the inevitable, but being practical about it can help alleviate some of the apprehension, especially since we won’t have to worry about our wishes falling flat. For example, I’m currently writing a novel, and if I died before it got finished, my wish is that someone would finish the book and try to get it published. But if I never addressed that, no one would even think to touch the manuscript and I’d be petrified that my words would never reach the public. Trust me, it’s best to say what you want.
So talk to your friends, your spouse, your kids or your relatives. Let them know what you’re thinking. It can be a brief conversation over coffee, or one of those passing moments in the car on the way to the grocery store. It can be funny, or it can be serious. But it’s healthy and practical, and really only needs to be expressed once.