9th June 2021
Most people will have given some thought to what they would want their funeral to look like. You may have personal preferences on songs or readings, or you may have strong beliefs about your type of burial.
It is possible to specify some preferences or include some funeral wishes within your Will, however, it is worth noting that your funeral wishes are not legally binding. They can be expressed within your Will or a separate document can be made, however there is no legal obligation for your executor or family members to carry them out.
Your executor – usually your spouse, child, or a close family member, is typically responsible for making your funeral arrangements. The best way to ensure that you get the send-off you want is to make sure they know your preferences and to choose people your trust to carry out your wishes to be your executors.
It is also worth understanding that your family may start to make funeral arrangements before finding your Will or going through your personal documents if they are not aware of any plans you have in place.
Whilst it is not the nicest conversation to have, it is best to have a conversation about death and funerals whilst you are alive and healthy, rather than discussing these subjects with family when you are seriously ill. This can be more upsetting for your spouse or children to listen to when they know that the funeral will be imminent.
If conversations are avoided then you run the risk of family members not knowing your funeral wishes, this can mean that they have additional stress trying to give you the send-off you deserve without truly knowing what choices to make on your behalf. It also means that some things may be missed that you would have wanted.
It can be easier and clearer to put things in writing. Informing your executor or close family members that a document of funeral wishes exists and where to find it.
There is also the option of pre-planning your funeral ahead of time. There are numerous companies who can provide you with a funeral plan and you can save or pay for any funeral expenses in advance. This can also lessen the burden on your family as most aspects of the funeral are payable upfront before the estate is wound up and divided.
If you are including wishes in your Will, your Solicitor may advise you to keep it simple. Typically, just stating whether you have a preference for a burial or cremation.
If you have more ideas or specific wishes then you can include them in a separate document, or create a funeral plan with a company that specialises in pre-planned funerals.
Some things you may wish to consider are:
A Will is the best way to protect your assets, state how you wish your estate or assets to be shared, provide for dependants, and express your wishes.
Making a simple Will does not come at a high cost and if your circumstances are straightforward, then it is unlikely to need to be updated or rewritten frequently.
To speak to someone about writing your Will, expressing your wishes or updating any previous plans you have made, please call our expert Private Client team on 01256 844888. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant who can take your details and arrange for a Solicitor to call your back.
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How to Choose and Executor or Attorney
Can I Deal with Probate or do I Need a Solicitor?
What are Mirror Wills and When Are They a Good Idea?
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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