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Insights // 01 July 2019

End of Life Planning: Detailing Funeral Wishes in Your Will

Patrick Brennan and Sophie Clark, in our leading Probate, Tax & Trusts team, explain the importance of accounting for funeral wishes in your will.

We plan our entire lives, but many avoid considering what may happen on their passing. It is therefore very important to think about your funeral wishes and preferences in advance and to account for these in your will. Frequently, we find that this is something that is easily overlooked.

Why should I specify my funeral wishes in my will?

It can be both daunting and overwhelming to organise a funeral for a loved one during an already difficult period. A funeral is the opportunity for many friends and family to say their final goodbyes and celebrate your life. Without any form of direction, it can be difficult to ensure that the funeral is a fitting tribute to you, especially when you may not have discussed your wishes during your lifetime.

What should I specify in my will?

Many people have very specific wishes as to the disposal of their body and the conduct of their funeral following their passing. It is important to account for these wishes in your will.

You may also wish to specify the following in your will or in a side letter of wishes:

  • Burial or cremation;
  • The location of your burial;
  • The location of the scattering of your ashes;
  • Having no funeral;
  • Having a themed funeral;
  • Organ donation; or
  • Having an eco-friendly coffin.

Will my wishes be followed?

Your funeral wishes remain a wish and you cannot legally bind the Executors (or administrators) of your will to follow your wishes. This is a subject of great contention and whether funeral wishes will become binding in the future remains to be seen, despite being debated in 2017 by the Law Commission.

Noting your wishes in your will enlightens those individuals as to your preferences if you may not have discussed these during your lifetime. If your wishes have been made clear in your will, unless limited by financial constraint, most Executors will do their best to follow them.

Please also read our blog article on why making and having an up to date will is important.

For further information on making or updating a will, please contact law@blandy.co.uk or call 0118 951 6800. 

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.

Patrick Brennan

Patrick Brennan

Associate Solicitor, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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Sophie Clark

Sophie Clark

Solicitor

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