Preneed planning – or having a funeral plan in place before a death occurs – has many benefits, and can help ease the stress and burdens families often face when a loved one passes away. Yet, many families do not know preneed planning is an option, are uncomfortable talking about death, or just do not even know how to start the process.

That is where those in the deathcare industry come in. They can serve as a valuable resource, providing information to educate families about their options. Promoting these benefits not only adds value to a business, but it can create goodwill and trust with potential and current customers.

According to leading funeral and burial insurance providers, people who prearrange their funerals report high levels of satisfaction with their decision. That is likely because providers have communicated successfully about the benefits to families, which is important because many people are not even aware that they can fund their funerals, or those of a loved one, in advance.

Here are tips for providing a compassionate, step-by-step explanation of the preneed process.

  1. Teach families how to start. Explain that preneed planning is available, detailing exactly what it is and what it includes. This can be done at one-on-one meetings or in a group setting, such as in an organized public program or during an informal lunch. Explaining how to start can help ease the fear of the unknown and quell concerns about cost.

  2. Show compassion. By nature, funeral professionals are excellent at dealing with crises and relating to people at their worst moments. This allows funeral professionals to speak from experience, relaying examples of how preplanning can alleviate stress at the often very chaotic time of need.

  3. Establish trust. Families may not be at their best emotionally when they engage with funeral professionals. So while it is important to discuss the financial aspect of planning, it is just as important to emphasize the peace of mind such decisions can provide. A balanced, approachable discussion can help families think about preneed planning from a more practical perspective.

  4. Provide options. The process can be overwhelming, so it is helpful to start with general information (types of services) and then get into more specifics (casket or urn selection). Breaking down the offerings into smaller, more manageable, segments can make the bigger picture clearer for families.

  5. Take it slow. A preneed conversation may likely not happen in one visit. Establishing trust does not happen overnight. Perhaps a first visit could simply encourage families to map out their visions and legacy on paper. Help them create a document that will illustrate the importance of documenting—and planning for—end of life.

Very few families would argue that being well prepared is a bad thing, but when it comes to end of life, thinking ahead can seem scary. Reframing the conversation is key, and funeral professionals can take the lead to make that happen successfully.

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