They say you should never talk religion, politics and money tips at dinner parties but what about death?
A recent initiative from the US, Death Over Dinner (www.deathoverdinner.org.au), encourages people to get together to talk about what kind of care, asset handovers and what kind of death, they want for themselves and their loved ones.
The idea is to address the topics that are otherwise considered somehow taboo – and which often fall upon women to finalise – in a relaxed and potentially wine-induced environment.
Consider the following dinner-table ice-breakers:
Would you have a bell on your grave, connected to inside your coffin, like they did in the 1800’s, just in case you get buried alive or would you just take a fully charged mobile with you?
Perhaps you’d like some pre-programmed tweets ready to go just for the occasion? Or even have someone drop a Pokemon Go lure at your gravesite during the funeral.
What song would you like? Like that one from the Wizard of Oz. No not Ding dong the witch is dead, you’ll have to be specific if you want Somewhere over the rainbow
Other cultures have a much more practical and involved approach to death and dying, but in Australia we are largely protected from the reality of this part of life.
However, this is beginning to change. We are seeing more and more initiatives designed to encourage people to accept the fact of their own mortality and ensure they are prepared for it – not in a macabre way but in a pragmatic, sensible way.
Another initiative we are starting to see in Australia, coming from the US, is living funerals for the dying, or terminally ill.
This takes the idea that while a funeral is a celebration of a loved one’s life, there is no reason they shouldn’t be there to enjoy it as well.
We’re also seeing a lot of promotion at the moment of the concepts of funeral insurance, pre-paid funerals or funeral bonds.
People should be aware of some of the pitfalls of funeral insurance. For instance, it can become increasingly expensive as premiums step up over time. It’s worth checking out ASIC’s website (https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events- and-you/over- 55s/paying-for-your-funeral) to see exactly what you’re getting.
Such plans also highlight the importance of having some kind of ‘death over dinner’ discussion with family. After all, if your family doesn’t know about such arrangements, they can’t use them and the money is just wasted.
We have produced a free and useful guide that captures your valuable legal and personal information. You can find our Personal and Family Profile Booklet at fpmanagement.com.au or by calling 1800 804 731.