Starting the Conversation

Now is the time to have the conversation, not when you are in crisis. Bringing your family together for an honest conversation about your plans and wishes is the first step. We consistently see that families who take this walk together have greater peace of mind.

The 2 minute video below helps to simply explain why planning ahead not only makes sense, but is one of the most caring things families can do for each other.


Advance planning is about leaving well, and it’s about documenting and sharing your plans with those who are most important to you.

  • If you feel awkward starting the conversation, then acknowledge how you feel: “I have something on my mind that is sometimes uncomfortable to talk about, but I feel we need to.”
  • Many people who are sick care very deeply about not causing their family members pain or anguish. But the truth is, talking about funeral or memorial ceremony options makes it easier for families.
  • Planning ahead is also perceived as a way to remain in control, even at the end, by writing down detailed funeral plans. When so many people can feel powerless, handing them the ability to finalize their wishes can be very empowering and peace-giving.
  • An Advance Health Care Directive is a very important document to have completed in addition to a detailed funeral plan. Why? Because at the time of need, some family members may not agree. If all the paperwork is complete and available, then there is no question about what will be done. We recommend that you keep several copies of your AHCD and distribute them to family members, as well as your doctor, local hospital, and your trust attorney. Your funeral arranger will have a copy of your funeral plan on file at the mortuary. We encourage you to make sure that each family member who will be closely involved in the arrangement proceedings have a copy as well.