Do you know what your loved one’s end-of-life wishes are? Perhaps you aren’t clear about the details. Or perhaps you have no idea at all because they haven’t shared them with you. This tells you that now is the time for the talk. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but it may be one of the most important conversations you have.

How to talk with your loved ones about their end-of-life wishes

  • “I would really like to talk to you about your end-of-life wishes. Can we arrange a time to have that conversation?”
  • “I’ve been thinking about my final wishes and I realized that I don’t know what yours are. Can we talk about that?”
  • “I read an article recently about having end-of-life conversations with your loved ones and it occurred to me that we’ve never talked about that. Can we have that conversation?”
  • “I’ve been considering what I want for my end-of-life arrangements and I would like to write them down and share them with you in person. Would you be willing to do the same with me?
  • “Even though we are all healthy right now and hopefully we won’t need these details for a long time, I think it’s a good idea for us to sit down and discuss what we want to have happen when we die.”
  • “I was thinking about (someone closed to you who died) and it made me wonder what you would want to happen when you pass away?”

Let’s hope that helps to get things started. The best way to keep the conversation going and get more details is to continue to ask open-ended questions like: “what is most important to you?”, “how do you feel about…” and “can you tell me about…” 

There will likely be many conversations until you have the full picture but keep at it!

Having a will in place is important

Once you have the chat, make sure to follow up with any necessary paperwork, such as making or changing an existing will. Having a will helps in many ways, including providing direction on funeral and burial preparations and dividing assets amongst people and organizations. For more information on the details about writing a will, take a look at our blog post – Writing your will.

The law in BC

Certain aspects of funeral services are regulated in BC to protect you during this challenging time. Funeral services are governed in BC under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act (and regulations) and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation. We oversee those laws and funeral homes and funeral directors must hold a licence with us. Always check that a funeral home or provider is licensed with us using our online search feature.

Where to go for more information

For more information on this topic we invite you to read Have you had “the talk”? Steps to take & 5 tips about funeral services. There are many websites that offer resources on talking about final wishes with your loved ones.

For more information about the funeral services rules in BC, visit the funeral services section of our website.

Did you like this post? You might like these posts too!

Your preneed cemetery or funeral services contract rights
Pre-paying for your end-of-life arrangements…what’s right for you?
Can I be buried on the family farm?
What can be done with my ashes when I die?
After-death care: who gets to decide?

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific sectors and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.