How to put together a plan for your funeral wishes

While thinking about our final wishes and funeral is not a pleasant thought - and one that we can only hope is many years away - it is a good idea to put a few plans together for your farewell ahead of time (just in case). 

It can be tough to imagine or truly think about at first, but there can be something cathartic in planning your own funeral.  

The advantages of pre-planning your funeral 

One of the biggest benefits of pre-planning your funeral can be the peace of mind that it’s all taken care of, no matter what the future holds. 

It means that everything should be just as you’d like it. You might prefer something traditional, something modest, or even a funeral that’s about celebration and memory as much as it is about closure for your loved ones. 

Speaking of your loved ones, that’s where the biggest advantage lies. Firstly, by pre-planning everything yourself, it means those closest to you won’t have to make tough decisions about your funeral arrangements when they’re grieving. They won’t have to guess whether you would have preferred a cremation or a burial, and they won’t spend hours wondering about which songs you’d like most. 

Additionally, making plans for your funeral usually also means making plans for paying for it all. The average funeral in New Zealand costs approximately $10,000 but considering that nearly one in five senior Kiwis do not feel financially secure, it might be hard to know how to cover those costs.  

You may have some savings to cover some of the costs, or you might take out a funeral insurance policy to help cover the costs for some peace of mind. 

Important things to include in your plans

Planning a funeral requires a lot of decision making, so here are the key things to include in your plans:

  • Whether you want a burial or a cremation
  • Whether you want any religious aspects to your funeral, or none
  • Whether your funeral director will submit a record of your death, or if someone else will need to
  • Where you want your funeral to be held
  • Preferences for music choice, readings, speeches
  • Preferences for a place of burial or where you want your ashes scattered
  • Who to contact for funeral attendance  
  • Who should be your pallbearers
  • How you plan to pay for funeral costs
  • Your will 

Keep in mind, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to your funeral. If you want to play nothing but Tina Turner hits and serve pavlova after the ceremony, that’s totally your prerogative. If you’re taking the time to make the plans, you may as well make them your own. 

How to share your plans with loved ones 

Once you’ve created your funeral plans, the last step is to ensure they reach the right people at the right time. 

Many Kiwis will leave their funeral plans with their will in the Public Trust, which is a government-appointed corporation that handles wills. Or, you might have a personal lawyer you prefer to work with to handle your will. 

Of course, as well as setting up official documents with a law firm or the Public Trust, you may also like to let your loved ones know your wishes. For so many New Zealand Seniors – 44% to be exact – the welfare and happiness of their families is a key concern for the future, so taking the time to share your plans with loved ones could help give you some peace of mind that you’ve shouldered this burden in advance. 

You could sit them down and chat through it, letting them know you’ve made plans and some of the basics of those plans, so that when the time comes, that’s not something they’ll need to worry about. 

You can even chat to them before you’ve finished making plans, as they might have suggestions or ideas for things you might not have thought of.  

Get started

Once you have all your funeral plans in place, consider requesting a quote for funeral insurance from New Zealand Seniors so you can finalise everything with a plan for how to cover some or all of the costs of a beautiful final farewell – exactly the way you want it.