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Will your funeral be “just how they would have wanted”?

Ideas for writing a funeral wishes list, just so everyone can be sure...

Want traditional funeral hymns sung at your funeral, a meaningful country song, or Knocking on Heaven’s Door playing out loud?

Perhaps, inspired by Carrie Fisher’s funeral and Prozac-shaped cremation urn, you’re quite taken by the idea of symbolism, or wry humor playing a part in your send off. If so, have you ever told a loved one, or even written your own funeral wish list?

A random song on the radio, or talking point in a magazine can often prompt a light-hearted remark about a dying wish or two. Maybe you've even said “I want this song playing at my funeral” or have a favorite beauty spot where you could envisage your cremation ashes being scattered to the four winds.

“They would have loved this”?

Yet when the time comes to plan a funeral, it can be easy for loved ones to decide against a seemingly irreverent wish, or taking off-the-cuff remarks literally. What if it causes raised eyebrows, or that ‘dying wish’ wasn’t what they really wanted, after all?

You may already be aware of the uncertainties or financial hardships that can be faced by loved ones, if you die without writing a will. Luckily, it’s not difficult or costly to prepare a will to ensure that you can continue to look after loved ones as best you can, after you die.

More people, too, consider funeral plans with the assurance that when the time comes, a good funeral home will be on hand to manage the arrangements. Not only does planning your own funeral help alleviate the costs for mourning family members, it puts you in control of choosing a funeral home, funeral venue, casket and even the hearse.

But will your funeral be “just what they would have wanted”?

A dying wish – or even more...

Few of us like to consider our own mortality, but the next time that old song comes on the radio, or someone jokes “bury me with my boots on,” why not begin a list of genuine funeral wishes, or talk things over with a loved one?

It’s easy to write a list of funeral wishes. Separate to a will or trust, you can give it to your attorney for safekeeping and be sure to keep a copy at home where loved ones can find it.

Funeral wishes are just that – wishes – they are not legally binding, or may be impossible for a loved one to fulfill. But a dying wish list could reassure your loved ones that, yes, it was exactly what you would have wanted – even if your last wish is simply for them to heal and live happily, when you’re gone.

Some ideas for a last wish list

  • My faith or belief and preferred minister
  • Whether or not I’d prefer an open casket viewing
  • The clothes or jewelery I’d like to be wearing
  • A favorite poem, quote, or piece of scripture
  • Final wishes– where I’d like to be buried, or my ashes interred
  • Colors I’d like friends and loved ones to wear to my funeral
  • Special readings or poems that meant a lot to me
  • People I’d like to do a reading, sing, or give eulogy
  • My music choices and favorite hymns, or songs
  • Where I’d like my funeral reception or memorial to be held
  • End of life wishes – the epitaph for my gravestone
  • Who will scatter my ashes – and where?
  • Do I want to be buried alongside a loved one, or with a pet’s ashes?
  • The charities I’d like friends donate to in lieu of funeral flowers
  • Times of year I’d ‘welcome’ visitors to my grave and a meaningful token they could bring
  • I’d like friends and relatives to raise a glass in my honor and smile at my wake
  • I’d prefer a quiet and intimate family gathering
  • My happiest memories were...
  • My favorite hobbies were...
  • My greatest achievement was...
  • The people that made me proudest were...
  • The things I wish for my loved ones, are…

Be inspired by 10 beautiful country songs for funerals and 10 amazing things to see and do in before you die.

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