What to do if family members have different requests for the service and remains?

What to do if family members have different requests for the service and remains

If you have specific funeral requests, it is essential you share them with your closest family and/or friends. When someone passes away, if their loved ones have not been informed of their wishes, they will typically look for funeral instructions. In the absence of pre-planning, or a will, even a note saying what you want would be helpful.

If there is no will, in the Province of Alberta, a chain of command exists to say who is responsible for making funeral decisions. For example, in the absence of a named personal representative/executor, a spouse or legal partner has first say. Then an adult child, then parent, and so the list goes. If you want a specific person to make all decisions for you, if you have concerns about the decisions a particular person will make or you will not end up where you want to be, creating a will that specifies a personal representative is the best option. Then be sure to inform your personal representative of your wishes or any pre-planning you have done.

While having a will clarifies who makes decisions, it will not prevent family members from making requests or voicing opinions. An experienced funeral director, such as ours at Country Hills Crematorium, will be skilled at listening to all requests from the family and finding solutions that are acceptable to as many family members as possible. Our sole focus is to help families in their time of need. While we always work to find acceptable solutions, we urge every adult to have a conversation about their final resting arrangements. And be sure to revisit your choices – what you want when you’re single in your 20’s may be very different than what you want when you have teenagers in mid-life.

Funeral arrangements can be made in advance with funeral pre-planning. This is a process by which you document your requests in as much detail as possible. All factors are taken into consideration – from burial vs cremation to flowers, service location to clothing. (For a full listing of questions to consider when pre-planning a funeral, see our Pre-Planning Checklist.)

If someone has pre-planned their funeral, they may have paid for all services and arrangements they want; while this is very often the case, sometimes, they have not paid in advance.

Very rarely do families want to change the final resting plans made by a loved one. If changes are to be made, it does need to be approved by the personal representative named in the will, or the highest level available in the chain of command.

If you know what you want for your final resting wishes, do not be afraid to share these details. Death is a natural part of life, and many people are relieved to know what their loved one would want so they can honour their last wishes, when the time comes.

If you would like to discuss funeral options, including burial and cremation, our funeral directors can help you to make decisions, discuss options, and pre-plan if you wish to do so. Contact us today at Country Hills Crematorium for assistance.

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