Thinking about funeral wishes

Posted by Stephen Evans on
Morbid, yes, but essential for your peace of mind and reassuring for those left behind.

Most of my career so far has revolved around Wills and Probate. I have been asked many times by people outside the legal profession whether this area of work isn't just a little morbid. It's certainly true that death is the sad backdrop to the work of Wills and Probate lawyers. But if someone is putting off making a Will because they don't want to think about death, I encourage them to think about the benefit a Will has to those left behind, as well as the peace of mind they will enjoy from having made their final wishes known.

Although we might joke that it doesn't matter what happens after we're gone because we won't be around to worry about it, many of us do care a lot about what happens when our time is up. Take our funeral wishes, for example. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a simple funeral with no frills or do you want a horse-drawn carriage? Are you someone who wants their funeral to reflect their religious beliefs or should religion play no part at all? Are there particular items (hymns, songs, readings or poems, for example) that you would like to feature in your funeral service?

Including your funeral wishes in your Will is a good way of ensuring that those left behind can plan your funeral in accordance with your wishes. Although funeral wishes in a Will are not legally binding, those left behind will be grateful for the reassurance that they are doing things in the way you would have wanted. Some of the smaller details do not need to go in your Will. These details may change over time and you will be able to cover a lot more detail in a letter of wishes left with your Will. But typically, you might like to say whether you want to be buried or cremated and where your remains should be laid to rest. If you want to be buried in a natural burial ground, for example, then you should say so.

Increasingly, people like to make it known that their body should be made available for organ donation or medical research. A Will is a good place to record these wishes. Would-be organ donors should also put their name on the NHS Organ Donor Register and anyone wanting their body to be used for medical research should contact a medical school for a consent form.

If you would like to talk these issues through, please contact Blake Morgan's succession and tax team. We can guide you through the process of making a Will and help you achieve peace of mind.

About the Authors

Photograph of Stephen Evans

Stephen is a Solicitor in our Succession & Tax team.

Stephen Evans
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01865 254221

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Photograph of Helen Bunker

Helen is a Partner and specialises in Private Law based in our London office.

Helen Bunker
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020 7014 5246

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