‘Til Death Do Us Part: Almost half of Canadians don’t know their partner’s end-of-life wishes

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With a record number of weddings expected in 2022 following the pandemic, many Canadian couples are busy planning their lives together.

‘Til death do us part is a common vow, but how many couples have discussed what this could look like?

According to new data, almost half of married or soon-to-be-married Canadians (43%) don’t know their partner’s end-of-life wishes. However, three-in-four (74%) believe pre-planning their final arrangements is important. 

There’s much to discuss ahead of nuptials, and five-in-six married or soon-to-be-married Canadians (85%) say they’d be open to discussing pre-planning too.  They say what holds people back is that they either don’t know where to start (48%) or think it sounds too complicated (35%). Our study also found over a quarter (27%) of married or soon-to-be-married Canadians say the thought of discussing end-of-life arrangements makes them feel ‘anxious.’ 18% say it makes them feel ‘depressed’ or ‘stressed.’  

These couples aren’t wrong to feel overwhelmed—funeral and cemetery pre-planning is a complex subject and often a difficult conversation to broach—but it is worth it. Following the death of a loved one, there are many important details that will need attention. In fact, many Canadians are unaware there are at least 87 decisions to make in the first 72 hours after a loved one has passed. This is quite significant for grieving families, especially those who did not engage in a conversation with the loved one who has passed about funeral or cemetery options.  

In our professional experience at Arbor, talking about your end-of-life wishes early on can help couples feel more confident and organized about their future. This stands up to the research.   The couples in our study said discussing their end-of-life wishes with their partner and pre-planning their arrangements made them feel organized (42%) confident (22%) and relieved (19%). We believe couples feel this way because knowing what’s involved in advance provides you with the opportunity to make your own decisions and save your loved ones undue hardship when the time comes.

That’s why we have one message for Canadians: have the conversation now. 

Whether you want burial or cremation, deciding how to manage your remains is one of the most wrenching decisions your loved ones must make. It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and conversations around end-of-life pre-planning take place at different stages in people’s lives. One of the best times is while you’re already planning for the future with your fiancé.

It’s never too early to start the conversation and express your wishes. Having the right people by your side to talk to is key because they’ll bring comfort, love, and compassion to the discussion. Your partner, family members, and close friends are all great supporters to have close by.


Not sure how to get started? Read our blog on how to start the conversation about final wishes.

Our team of licensed professionals is also at hand to provide you with accurate information and expert guidance. It’s our vocation to help you determine what best reflects your wishes while presenting options that also suit your budget.

We’re available to serve you by phone, email, text message, online through our website, or by Facetime, Skype or Zoom. Please visit our location finder to contact an Arbor location nearest you.


About the Survey

These are findings of a joint survey conducted by Arbor Memorial Inc. and Leger. 1525 Canadians were surveyed between March 25-27th 2022 using Leger’s online panel which was balanced and weighted on age, gender, region, and level of education. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e., a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1525 respondents would have a margin of error of ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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