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Considering your will and your funeral often go hand in hand, is it a good idea to include a funeral wishes clause in your will?

There are a number of things to consider when it comes to planning and communicating your burial wishes. Keep reading to find out more.


Your Will: Making Funeral Arrangements

The passing of a loved one can be an extremely emotional and chaotic time. As well as dealing with grief there will be a number of arrangements that need to be made, including organising a funeral.

When preparing a will for a client, we will frequently be asked whether their personal wishes regarding funeral arrangements should be included as part of the legal document.

According to the law, when you die, those that you have appointed as executors will technically become the owners of the body and arranging the funeral becomes their responsibility.

Quite often, regardless of whether they are appointed as executors of the will or not, it will be your family members, or those closest to you, who will make your funeral arrangements.

If you decide not to leave a will, inheritance laws, known as the Rules of Intestacy, will ensure that an administrator is allocated to make decisions on behalf of the estate. Relatives are placed in order of priority to the deceased, starting with the spouse or civil partner.


Are Burial Wishes Legally Binding?

There is absolutely no reason not to include your funeral wishes in your will, but you should bear in mind that there is a possibility those closest to you may start planning the funeral arrangements before your will has been retrieved.

If you would like to include your funeral wishes in your will, you should also be aware that burial wishes are not legally binding and can therefore be overlooked.


If You Can, Talk to Those That Care

We will always recommend that you discuss your funeral arrangements with loved ones, regardless of whether you choose to outline your burial wishes in your will. It can be an awkward and upsetting conversation to have. However, it is beneficial to voice your preferences in person.

Whether you have a detailed plan or you just want to make known your preference of burial or cremation, talking about these choices will help lessen the load for all. Most importantly, it will also help to avoid conflict and arguments between those that care for you.


Consider a ‘Letter of Wishes’

When it comes to figuring out how to make sure your funeral wishes are followed, writing a ‘Letter of Wishes’ could be useful. Even though a letter of wishes is not legally binding, it is a document that is often drafted at the same time as your will. Its purpose is:

  • To provide specific information regarding your funeral wishes.
  • To outline how you want your personal assets dealt with.
  • To give longer term guidance with regards to ongoing trusts established on your death.

While you can include more detailed information in your will, we often recommend that you consider drafting a letter of wishes at the same time. This letter of wishes can include:

  • Your choice of music to be played
  • Nominated charities
  • Floral preferences

It can also include anything else you can think of. The document can be changed in future, if necessary, without you having to alter your will.


Pre-paid Funeral Plans

There have been instances reported in the past where family members have made the funeral arrangements and paid for them before discovering the deceased had a pre-paid funeral plan.

This is another reason why it is important to keep those nearest and dearest to you informed of any funeral arrangements and plans you may have.


Contact Us to Discuss Your Specific Requests

For more information about wills, probate and asset management, talk to our expert team, who will help you deal with these matters sensitively and confidentially.  Contact us today!

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