Funerals are difficult for most people, but it can be doubly so when some or all of the surviving family is estranged. If you are planning a funeral, how can you handle an estranged family so as to avoid unnecessary problems? Here are three tips anyone can put into practice. 

1. Rely on Funeral Staff

Funeral home directors and staff have worked with many different families over time. They've probably had experience with most of the same types of challenges you face. Ask for their guidance in making respectful arrangements and listen to their recommendations. These may not always align with what you want to do, but they are a voice of experience. 

The funeral home personnel can also serve as a go-between among family members and guests. They can answer questions, greet people, and direct mourners. And the funeral home itself serves as an excellent neutral location for a funeral. 

2. Avoid Pettiness

The temptation to do things that could be seen as petty can be strong at this time. It may run the gamut from "accidentally" leaving out an estranged family member's name from the obituary to telling someone the wrong time. It could take an even more serious route, such as cremating remains before a person has had a chance to say goodbye or banning them from the funeral entirely. 

Unfortunately, petty vengeance is much more likely to increase your stress level and make things even more difficult. This isn't to say that you have to try to heal old wounds, of course, but being respectful at this time can help you personally move on with a good conscience toward your deceased loved one. 

If there is a temptation to do something unkind — like not permitting someone to speak at the funeral — consider outsourcing that arrangement to the funeral home staff. They will approach it with impartiality and save you the stress of dealing with it. 

3. Plan Multiple Arrangements

Some families go so far as to hold separate funerals so everyone can grieve peacefully. Alternatively, you might plan a public funeral or viewing with a private funeral, wake, or memorial with a very private guest list. The other members are free to hold their own as well. 

You may want to keep private arrangements to yourself. You've satisfied your responsibility toward others, and now it may be time to satisfy your responsibility toward yourself. 

Where to Start

The best place to begin planning a funeral with an estranged family is to meet with a reputable funeral home in your area today. With their guidance, you'll make the best of this situation and pay final respects to your shared loved one. 

To learn more about funeral service options, contact a funeral home in your area.