A List of Wishes

Contributing Writer: Audra Milligan, Inheritance of Hope Strategic Initiatives Director
One of the great gifts of a funeral is the comfort and support your loved ones receive from the community of friends and family. Funerals should be meaningful, personal, and reflect your legacy well. Sharing your preferences in advance can help ensure things go according to your wishes and also act as a helpful guide for your family.  

Putting your wishes on paper is a good place to start. Funerals can vary across faith and custom, and there are many checklists available online. Inheritance of Hope includes here a preliminary checklist of considerations that will help you think about arrangements in whichever style and setting you may choose. We encourage you to share a complete guide with a family member or trusted friend. Keep it in a safe place and let someone know where it can be found.
Here is a general checklist for sharing your wishes:
  • I’d like the following person to be in charge  __________.

  • People I would like personally notified of my death ___________.

  • Pallbearer suggestions (if applicable) are __________.

  • Ceremony preferences could include: no ceremony, funeral ceremony at a place of worship or funeral home, visitation or viewing, graveside ceremony only, memorial ceremony at a location of your choosing _________.

  • I would like this person to officiate the ceremony ___________.

  • I would like this person to give the eulogy _________. 

  • My favorite quote, reading, or text to be read is  ____________.

  • I would like this music played ___________. 

  • Special clothes I would like to wear are ____________.

  • I would like the following items placed in the casket with me ___________.

  • I prefer this type of disposition: traditional earth burial, above ground burial, cremation, other _________.

  • I would like to be buried at / have my ashes scattered at __________.  

  • I prefer that memorial donations go to these organizations ___________.

  • I would like the following inscription on my marker ___________.

This is a general starting point to build on. It’s likely that local leaders and tailored resources will have more specific guidance for you. Remember that you can always make changes to these choices. A guide is simply a way for you to communicate your preferences to your loved ones, giving them the space to grieve, remember, and honor you well.