Why it’s Important to Talk About Death When You’re Not Dying

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Death is still a taboo subject amongst many Australians, and is understandably something people prefer to put to the back of their minds, rather than bring to the front of a conversation. Quite often, it’s not until we’re left without the choice that we talk about the death of us or someone else.

This is especially true when somebody in your family, a partner or a close friend has a long-term or terminal illness. It’s a tough time for all, and people often prefer to ignore the inevitable, as it’s painful and they don’t want to upset the dying. However, research has found that a third of seriously ill elderly people in hospital don’t receive the end-of-life care they want, because no one has spoken to them about their wishes.

Plan ahead to make your wishes known

It’s so important to live your life for “the now”, but it’s also important to plan for the future. Use this time to ensure your family knows about your end-of-life wishes. Talk about everything that matters to you – from the hospital care you do/don’t want to receive at the end of your life, to your choice between a burial and cremation, and even to the kind of theme or song you want to be played at your funeral.

Not only does this bring you the peace-of-mind that you’ll get to say goodbye in the way you want, but it also lessens the burden of decisions for your family. It’s difficult for families to make choices about their loved one’s funeral service, if no one has had the conversation and they’re unsure if they’re really honouring their wishes.

Prepare your family for the future

It’s natural to feel as though you’re protecting your family by ignoring the subject of death. Maybe your children brush off the conversation when you bring it up, or they’re notably uncomfortable with it. You and them may also feel as though you’re destroying hope if you accept that you’re going to die soon.

However, we have found that families that have already spoken about life after death are better equipped to handle the time when it does arrive. Your relatives understand what you want without having to guess, and have already begun to accept and talk about their feelings during this difficult time.

Another important way to prepare your family for your passing is to write a will, so there’s no confusion over who will inherit your estate and assets once you’re gone. If you don’t have a next of kin, consider choosing a person you trust to take on the responsibilities of your end-of-life care and funeral arrangements. Consider a prepaid funeral to take off the financial burden for your loved ones, and to rest in the knowledge that your money is being properly managed and taken care of.

Learn more about prepaid funerals

We’re always here to talk. Affordable Cremations is a family-owned funeral business that is compassionate towards your wishes and those of your family. Give us a call on 1300 95 95 35 during any time of the day for more information about our services.

Funeral Traditions and Why They Need to be Questioned

woman with white lily flowers and coffin at funeral in church

Each culture has their own traditions when it comes to honouring the life of a person – from the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to a Tibetan Sky Burial that involves feeding bodies to birds to feast on, as an act of compassion. In Australia, our funeral processes seem a little more straight-foward. Generally, a funeral is held about a week after the death of a person, attendees wear black clothes, and there is a service at a church or non-religious location, followed by a burial or cremation, then usually a wake.

For as long as we can remember, that’s the way we’ve always done things. However, that doesn’t mean you have to strictly follow traditions when you’re saying goodbye to a partner, close friend or family member.

Honouring a person’s life in your own way

Every person is unique, and the way you say goodbye to them can be, too. We’re encouraging you to stop planning within the confinements of what you think “should” constitute a funeral; instead, plan a service the way you and your loved one would have wanted it!

Life is always changing – and so is the way we celebrate life during a funeral. We’re noticing that cremations are now more common than burials, that there’s a rise in non-religious services and that more people are choosing eco-friendly burials. So, think about what was important to your loved one! How can you give them a memorial service that is a true reflection of their life and personality?

How can you make a funeral unique?

Before you rush into making funeral arrangements, have a chat with your family to think up ways to make it unique, to say farewell to your loved one in your own way. Whilst this is a time for grieving, it’s also a time to gather the people close to you to talk about happy memories you share about a person.

To help you think of some unique ways to say goodbye, here are some conversation starters:

  • What was their favourite thing to do? If the person loved to spend time at the beach, in the park or at their local sports centre, consider holding the ceremony there.
  • What music did they like? A funeral song doesn’t have to be chosen just for its solemness; you can inject joy into the celebration by playing the music the person liked, no matter how upbeat it may be. There are no rules here!
  • What were their happiest moments? Look back on a life well-lived with photographs, videos or slideshows of your memories with this person. To help you to curate a collection, ask close friends and family members to send in their favourite photographs.
  • Did they have any quirks? In the past, wearing any colours other than black was viewed as disrespectful. Nowadays, many people are choosing to organise themed funerals. If the recently deceased person had a bright, sunny personality, consider encouraging guests to wear their most colourful outfits. You could even go one step further with a themed funeral based around the things they loved, such as superheroes or 80’s pop music!

Contact us to discuss your options

Whatever way you choose to honour a life, do it in a way that’s unique to you and them. Affordable Cremations is here to listen to your wishes and will do our best to help make them come true. To find out more about our services, send us a message or call 1300 95 95 35; we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How to Determine Who is the Next of Kin

Last Will And Testament With Money And Planning Of Inheritance

How to Determine Who is the Next of Kin

A next of kin describes a person’s closest blood relative or someone with a close relationship to a person (for example, a child or a spouse). There are some differences about who should be named next of kin across different states of Australia, and the discussion often arises amongst families that are experiencing the death of someone close to them.

Although the next of kin has no legal rights, they usually take on responsibilities such as registering the death and organising the funeral of the deceased person. The next of kin relationship is especially important when determining complex issues such as inheritance rights, if a person dies and has no will and/or no children.

Who should be named next of kin?

When someone dies without a will, their closest relative is usually referred to as the next of kin. Generally, this is the chosen order of who should be named next of kin:

  1.  Their spouse or civil partner
  2. Their children; this includes legally adopted children, but usually doesn’t include step-children, unless stated otherwise
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings
  5. Any person named as an executor in the will
  6. Any person who was the legal personal representative

What if there is no next of kin?

In the circumstance where a person dies in hospital and has no living relatives or close friends, and no assets, the responsibility falls on the hospital to arrange the funeral using governmental services.

If somebody dies at home and has no next of kin, a burial or cremation will be organised for the “deceased destitute person”. This is carried out by the relevant Director of Public Health, who will arrange the funeral through a government agency, once a doctor has issued a medical certificate containing the cause of death.

A person that does have sufficient assets, but no next of kin, will have their funeral arranged by the NSW Trustee and Guardian, using the person’s own assets.

What is a senior next of kin?

The “senior next of kin” is the person or family member of the person that has passed, who becomes the main point of contact for the Coroner and the primary person in charge of decisions. Establishing the senior next of kin is important, as it provides one singular person for the Coroner to be in touch with, rather than having to contact multiple members of the family.

The senior next of kin is chosen based on the numbered system we have listed above.

Contact Affordable Cremations for support

We understand that this can be a confusing and complicated time. If you’ve been named the senior next of kin for someone close to you that has recently passed, Affordable Cremations offers a personal service for no service, no attendance funerals in New South Wales. We’re available 24 hours a day, so call us anytime on 1300 95 95 35 for a conversation with a member of our team.

Blended Families and Funeral Arrangements

Family laying flowers on the grave

Blended Families and Funeral Arrangements

The world is changing and blended families are now the norm. Ex-partners, step parents and some other more complex relationships can cause confusion when it comes to arranging a funeral. Making the best choice for the eulogy, type of funeral and even the funeral music can cause arguments and further the divide between the family.

Planning a funeral can be demanding enough when you’re dealing with the grief from losing a loved one, but when family disputes and end-of-life debates are involved, the process can be even more difficult. This is the time when the emotions of multiple people are high, so we’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of this situation.

1. Be prepared to deal with individual personalities

Some people are more difficult to deal with in general, and they probably won’t be any different when dealing with end-of-life issues. Plan beforehand how to deal with such a person, and try to stay calm and focused during family conversations about the funeral.

If someone is interfering with the process, consider asking them to put their feelings in writing so you can properly take their thoughts into account in a measured way.

2. Understand that everyone has their own grief

From time-to-time, people will want to attend the funeral or cremation service, even if you didn’t expect them to. You may even doubt their sadness, but try to push this aside and remember that everyone is suffering right now.

For example, your husband’s ex-wife may no longer have a relationship with your husband. However, if he were to die, it’s likely that old emotions would resurface and she may want to honour their relationship and say goodbye. There’s no “right way” to behave here, and each family is different. If you feel the ex-wife’s presence may upset certain people, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want her to attend. However, if she wants to show her condolences and you don’t anticipate disruption, consider inviting her.

3. Consider end-of-life wishes

Complex or blended families often have conflicting conversations about how to arrange a funeral, but many arguments can be avoided by collecting information about the wishes of the person that recently passed.

If they have already expressed their wishes about their funeral arrangements, honour them as much as you can. Did they want to be buried or cremated? Which city did they love or always want to visit? Try to make the goodbye unique to them – from the eulogies to the place you bury or scatter their ashes. Of course, it’s important that everyone in the family is open and explicit about their own desires for anything else, so you’re not left feeling unheard once the day of the funeral arrives.

Contact Affordable Cremations for a personal service

We understand the complexities of family circumstances, and we’ll work closely with you to offer the funeral service you wish for, to properly honour the life of your family member. We welcome you to call us on 1300 95 95 35 or contact us online. Day or night, we’re there for you.