Take the Strife Out of Funeral Planning

Extended family standing on a beautiful beach, holding hands and watching a sunset


Funerals have always been a time for families to gather, share memories, and support one another through grief. But they can also be times of high stress and heavy emotions. And sometimes, that stress leads to conflict that can make the loss even harder to bear.


Studies show that over half of families report some kind of conflict about end-of-life planning for a loved one. Nearly a fifth of respondents polled say that funeral planning has caused a family feud, sometimes even leading to estrangement or strained relations.[1]


While you can’t guarantee your loved ones will always get along after you’re gone, there are some steps you can take to ease these disagreements. Planning your final arrangements in advance can alleviate stress and provide clarity when the time comes.


What Do Families Fight About When a Loved One Dies?

When someone dies, their siblings, spouse, children, grandchildren, or other relations may butt heads over many topics. Should Mom be buried in her hometown, or closer to where her kids live now? Did Grandpa want to be buried, or did he want to be cremated and have his ashes scattered? Should the funeral happen right away, or would Aunt Teri have wanted everyone to wait until spring, when more people could travel to a memorial? When there’s no guidance, family members may begin to feud.


Some common sources of disagreement include:

  • How the funeral should be paid for
  • What type of service should be held, and when
  • Which religious or cultural rites and traditions to include
  • Who should write the obituary and what information should go into it
  • Who should speak at the funeral
  • Who should or should not attend which parts of the service


Families with a diversity of belief systems or philosophies about death may have an especially hard time coming to an agreement about how to best honor a loved one. But even families who have a consensus about funerals may struggle with uncertainty about arrangements. Whether from a desire to express their care for a beloved departed family member or as a way to maintain control during a stressful period, sometimes people will argue about the details.


It’s especially hard when family members have grown apart and scattered across the country, or when blended families have disagreements over who has the most authority in decision-making. Making these decisions for yourself and putting a formal plan in place can help. After all, no one has to speculate about what Mom would have wanted when Mom arranged her funeral herself.


Preplan to Make Your Wishes Clear

Perhaps you haven’t given your funeral much thought. Or maybe you think that making detailed plans is too fussy. But the truth is that important decisions, like whether you’ll be buried or cremated, or what religious rites should be performed, will need to be made at some point. Making them now, when you have time to think calmly about what you want, can be a gift to your future grieving loved ones.


When you preplan, you will meet with a funeral director who will ask you a series of questions. Together, you’ll form a plan for how your final arrangements should be handled.


You can be as specific or open-ended as you wish. You can discuss your plans with your closest family members to get their input about what they would find most helpful. And once the plan is in place, it will be safely stored at the funeral home until it’s needed.  


Funeral preplanning also helps with managing expenses. When you plan with the funeral home, you can pay in advance or arrange an installment plan. You do not have to pay in advance, but doing so allows you to know exactly what your planned arrangements will cost, and your family won’t be surprised by inflation or price increases in the future.


Family circumstances are unique, but we always want our loved ones to be cared for after we’re gone. If you’re ready, Chapman Funerals & Cremations can help you put a plan in place to gift you and your loved ones with peace of mind. Reach out today to begin planning.


[1] This article references studies performed by the Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association and Independent Age. https://www.ualberta.ca/folio/2020/07/family-conflict-common-during-bereavement-study-shows.html and https://www.independentage.org/news-media/press-releases/one-three-on-non-speaking-terms-family-following-arguments-after

Preplanning your funeral may feel daunting, but we’re with you every step of the way.



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