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Wills, Funeral and Burial Wishes – Can I control what happens to me when I am gone?

Introduction

One of the most common conversations with have with our clients relates to funeral and burial wishes.

Some have a clear idea of location and specific personal elements that they want those left behind to follow through. Perhaps this is to be buried or interred with a loved one, or for their ashes to be scattered somewhere significant to them.

For others, as we see more and more, burial and funeral wishes can be a way to encourage those you left behind to spend less, for example not having certain elements that many consider traditional or they wish for their physical body to be donated for anatomical examination and research?

Since the beginning of codified law in England and Wales, careful attention has been placed on the disposal of bodies and this is carried through to modern legislation.

This article will explore what can, and cannot, be done by leaving a will once you pass away.

Can my funeral wishes be enforced?

It can be surprising to learn that funeral wishes left in a will are not legally binding.  The law as it stands states that the Executors of an estate are the legal owners of a body and are, as a result, decision-makers on any and all funeral arrangements.

Funeral expenses are payable out of the deceased’s estate if they are considered reasonable, and the payment of funeral expenses is allowed for in the will. It’s therefore important to ensure your will is drafted to reflect this.

Lifetime funeral planning

It may not be the case that specific funeral requests written into a Will are binding, however there are many ways to try and ensure your wishes are followed when you pass away.

Aside from the risks to your assets by dying without a will, the first way to try and ensure your funeral wishes are followed is to appoint trusted Executors in your Will. If you select one or more person(s) that you trust who, in life, understood your wishes it is then these people you can trust to follow through your wishes on your death.

If funeral and burial wishes are very important to you, you are able to leave a Letter of Wishes alongside your will. This can be drafted easily by a Solicitor and would act as guidance to your executors and an extra level of clarity on what your wishes are.

Pre-paid funeral plans can be a way to reduce the financial and organisational burden on family and loved ones when you’re gone. Be sure to inform your loved ones if you have made arrangements in this regard.

How can we help?

We specialise in will writing and the administration of estates, so we help people everyday to protect their own wishes once they’re gone, and support those they leave behind. If you require more information on funeral and burial wishes, Will writing or you have a general question please do not hesitate to contact the team.

If you would like a chat to discuss further, please feel free to contact me for a free 30-minute consultation.

Sophie Campbell

01637 800 306

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