Fifty one is the average age we start to think about planning our funeral, new research shows. A survey conducted by the Funeral Planning Authority earlier this year highlights the things that prompt consumers to start future planning and, unsurprisingly, the death of our own parents is often a trigger.

None of us likes to think about our death, which is why tackling topics such as funeral cover, life insurance and making a will can be so tricky. The problem with ignoring these matters, however, is that your loved ones might not know your final wishes, or that a family row might erupt and cause irreparable damage after you’ve gone, meaning it really is better to be prepared.

The FPA’s funeral planning research involved 1,000 Brits over the age of 40. The findings reveal that, despite an emotional trigger - such as the death of a parent, partner or friend - being behind the decision to plan ahead, almost two thirds (62%) view making their own funeral arrangements as a practical necessity, rather than an emotive situation.

The death of a parent is the biggest prompt, closely followed by our own ageing and a wish to be prepared, while 15% of Brits admit that their research when choosing a financial product isn’t very thorough or that they don’t do any research at all.

The aim of the FPA’s survey is to raise awareness of its work and help educate consumers about how they can benefit from its rules and code of conduct. The body was set up by the industry to regulate UK pre-paid funeral plan providers and to ensure they operate in a way that enables the customer to get the funeral they have paid for when it’s needed.

FPA CEO Graeme McAusland said: “We’re encouraged that so many of those over 40 aren’t shying away from making arrangements for their own funeral – including the financial implications. Whilst it can be prompted by a sad occasion and feel like a foreboding task, it does ensure that people’s wishes are carried out and financially prepared for.

“As the regulatory body for the prepaid funeral planning industry, our aims are to raise the standards of provider behaviour and protect consumers by ensuring the industry is focused on their needs and interests. Not all providers are FPA registered, so it’s important that consumers know about the FPA and understand why they should buy a plan from a registered provider.”

We’ve a number of useful guides to help you start future planning, including our guide to life insurance for the under 30s and life insurance myths busted. And if you’re ready to face issues but don’t know how to bring them into the open, read our ideas about talking to your family about death to help get you started.