As noted in the article about planning a funeral where you are not sure of wishes planning funerals where their is some conflict can also cause heartache, rifts and difficulty. Even in cases where the departed person has clear wishes and plans in place conflict can still arise. These could be a consequence of long standing disputes or objections to the plans themselves. Additionally they can be created in the form of individuals who are finding the loss difficult lashing out their frustrations and unhappiness at an acutely upsetting time. Managing these situations can be difficult however with some clever diplomacy and understanding the issues can be resolved before they leave irreparable damage for all concerned.
Dealing with the body the guests and the sequence of events
With the number of options available for dealing with the body varying from organ donation to outright cremation there is a real prospect of conflict in the grieving party as to what to do with the body. The same goes for what guests, ceremonies, rituals and events are to be invited and organised. Traditionally these decisions are made by what’s called the “next of kin” (closest relative) however this is not always clear and in some cases this may just be a person who is located in the same area as the deceased (eg. if the person recently relocated). Ordinarily the next of kin is a partner/wife/close friend or family member. If their is a dispute on what to do with the body or how to organise the funeral ceremonies and their is no clear next of kin selected the best advice is to try your best to represent the deceased wishes to the others looking to organise the events.
Dealing with the finances; the Will and the costs involved
If there is no will or assets or plan or any insurance which will cover the proceedings then it’s normal for the family or friends to pay for the services. This can cause conflict and may require a frank discussion about how the finances are raised. This can be very awkward however it is advisable as the alternative, which is in many cases that the state pays, can be very minimalist and may impact everyones memory of the deceased.
Family disputes and even disputes between friends and family are not new occurrences in human history. They can and do happen frequently however it’s within everyones best interest not to push them too far during a funeral. The best advice is to call a truce for the purposes of getting through the experience with at least some peace. If the conflicting parties involved continue to find it very difficult it’s advisable that they document exactly what they want for the ceremonies and compare these with each other. From here if it continues to cause problems an arbitrator (an independent person with no prejudice to either party) should attempt to broker a negotiated agreement. These are just suggestions on conflict resolution but in any case everyone involved should try to avoid brinkmanship or bringing the dispute into the courts. After all, the loss is hard enough without extra stress making it worse.