How to Tell Your Loved Ones You’d Like to Be Cremated
Even though over 40 percent of Americans opt for cremation over burial, there are still many different kinds of religious, cultural, and personal taboos that make cremation a difficult decision. This is especially true if your family has traditional views regarding funeral planning or has a long history of burial in a particular cemetery.
If you’ve decided on cremation but aren’t quite sure how to tell your family, we suggest you set aside a time to have this important conversation. It’s never a good idea to leave this sort of thing as a surprise, so the sooner you can open up to those you love, the more time you’ll have to enjoy what’s left of your time together.
Here are a few tips for making that conversation easier.
- Have the cremation plans already in place. Asking your family to cremate you isn’t the same thing as informing them that you’ve already made (and paid for) cremation plans in advance. Although they may have a difficult time accepting your decision on a personal level, it’s unlikely that they’ll ask you to undo all your advance planning.
- Outline the benefits. In addition to providing a more ecologically-friendly burial solution, cremation is more cost-effective than burial. If you express your wish to be cremated so that more of your money can be passed on to your loved ones, they may be more willing to listen.
- Request a special ceremony. Cremation is easier for some people to understand if it holds a special meaning. Maybe you really want your ashes to be scattered in your garden, or tossed into the river where you spent your childhood fishing. Perhaps you’d like them to take a family holiday somewhere tropical and dispose of your ashes there—and you’ve provided the money to make it happen. Turning your cremation into an opportunity to celebrate is always a nice touch.
- Offer alternatives and options. Cremation is a flexible arrangement in that you can still have the urn buried in a cemetery or placed in a columbarium. You can also still hold a formal body viewing or traditional funeral service. Allow your loved ones some say in your final plans, and they may be better able to cope.
- Put it in writing. If you aren’t in a position to pre-pay for a cremation, you can still put the plan in writing. Having an official statement of your wishes is the best way to make sure your plans are carried out to the fullest.
- Allow the funeral home to be in charge. If you’re at all concerned about your loved ones not following through with your wishes, allow the funeral home to be put in charge of your final plans. By signing a contract with them or naming them the beneficiary of a funeral insurance policy, you can sidestep many legal issues.
Above all else, be honest and firm with your loved ones. Even though cremation isn’t something everyone approves of, it is expected to make up half of all U.S. funerals by 2025. And as space for burial and funeral costs only continue to become problematic, cremation is likely to keep becoming the more popular choice.