mental health Mandy Kloppers

How to Talk to Your Family About End-of-Life Planning

share facebook twitter pinterest

In this article, we’ll be sharing advice on how to talk to your family about end-of-life planning, to ensure that your wishes are honoured…

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness, or you just want to get all your ducks in a row should your life end unexpectedly, you’ll want to make sure that your final wishes are honoured by your loved ones. Getting in contact with will solicitors can help you make important decisions on the future of your estate and how your close family will be provided for after you pass.


Talking to loved ones about end-of-life planning is not something anybody looks forward to and, in fact, something which many will put off for as long as possible. However, getting these conversations out of the way can avoid any unnecessary stress later down the line.


In this article, we’re going to share our advice for having ‘that’ conversation with children and grandchildren without causing any unnecessary distress.

Set the Scene


It’s vital that you do a little preparation ahead of this incredibly difficult conversation. Before gathering your loved ones, have a think about the information that you want to share. For instance, you should consider the kind of service that you want and the content of your will. Getting this straight in your mind will help you to stay focused during the talk.

Decide the Agenda


When asking to meet with your family or loved ones, give them a heads up regarding what the conversation will be about. Nobody likes to be ambushed and, if your family turn up expecting a cheerful evening, only to be told that the subject is anything but, they’re likely to feel wrong-footed and resistant to having the conversation.

Reassure Your Loved Ones


If you are simply planning ahead, rather than having been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it’s important to start by reassuring your family that this is the case. It’s natural for people to feel alarmed when somebody brings up the subject of their own demise so, it’s important to make this clear straight away so that nobody panics.

Find the Right Time and Place


Photo by Pyou93 from Pixabay

We all have busy lives, but this is not a conversation to be crammed into a lunch hour or during an afternoon when your son or daughter is due to pick the kids up from school. Choose a private location and a time when everybody involved will be able to focus on the conversation without distractions. While you’ve done your preparations and know what you want to say, you also need to factor in time for your loved ones to ask questions.

Ease into the Conversation


Once you’ve made the decision to have the conversation, you may be tempted to ‘get on with it’, however, you should avoid being too abrupt. Even if your family members have been forewarned regarding the topic, it can still be a shock if you just launch into it.


Instead, approach this in a circuitous way by, perhaps, mentioning another person’s funeral and what you thought about it. Easing into the conversation this way will make the situation a little more comfortable for everybody concerned and will open the door to frank and honest discussion.



While this is your show and you may have spent a great deal of time thinking about it, it’s important to listen to your loved ones. Once you’ve initiated the conversation, they will undoubtedly have questions and concerns. Although the important thing is, of course, your intentions and wishes, the feelings and opinions of your loved ones are also valid. By listening and taking onboard comments from your family, you will automatically make them feel involved and invested in the process. Having said that, don’t be sucked into any arguments regarding the contents of your will – either make it clear that this is non-negotiable or inform loved ones that, should there be an issue, they can arrange a time to speak with you privately.

End on a High


Having this conversation won’t usually be the most fun evening that a family has ever had and can often cause anxiety to your loved ones. End by lightening things up by perhaps going out for lunch or playing a game together to restore the atmosphere once the tough stuff has been achieved. This is a good way of ‘normalising’ what is, of course, not an everyday type of conversation.

Ready to Approach Your Loved Ones About Your Will?

Picture5 5

Photo by Nile from Pixabay

While having this conversation with your loved ones is almost certainly not something that you will look forward to, it should give you some peace of mind once it’s over. As difficult as this topic is, it will allow you to make your wishes and intentions clear to all concerned so that they will be prepared when the time comes. As well as putting your mind at rest, this will also make things easier for your family at a time when grief may be clouding their judgment.


Featured Image:

Photo by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay






Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.