What happens when you die, but your family don’t know what your wishes are? Communication is the key. We are regularly contacted for guidance especially where cross cultural issues may arise.In order to avoid unnecessary grief and anguish we recommend that you use these simple guidelines:

  1. Tell your family and extended family what you wish to occur when you die. This includes any particular funeral/tangi arrangements (i.e. marae/church/home).
  2. Tell your family your views about life support issues and/or organ donation.
  3. Let them know whether you wish to be buried or cremated.
  4. Let them know where you wish to be buried.
  5. Tell them whether or not you wish cultural practises to be used.
  6. Also particularly raise these matters with leading family members or friends, or those who you know may have other views to yours.
  7. Reinforce your wishes by including them in your Will and advising executors.

Although it may seem a difficult topic to discuss, it is a lot easier to take the time to let people know your wishes rather than major problems occurring after you have died and during the very stressful time of your funeral/tangi.  This would ensure that all members of your immediate family and extended family are clearly aware of what you want. The opportunity to save your loved ones from further heartache or dissension amongst your family should in our view be taken. This is especially so if differing cultural practices are involved.