Funeral Arrangements, what do I include or leave out in my Will?
Certainly, in the past, when you were preparing your Will, including more detail for funeral arrangements may not have been something that would have been explored in greater depth.
Today, and as our culture evolves stating your Funeral Arrangements tend to have more detail and there are reasons behind this.
Prior to any funeral section in your Will the question that precedes this is Organ Donation. Now, in England and Wales you are expected to donate your organs, however you can specify if you prefer not to. In this case you need to make your wishes known in advance to your Executors of your Will as they need to act quickly to ensure your wishes are carried out.
If you are comfortable to donate your organs when you have passed away, you still can specify whether it is ALL your organs or specify exceptions, like your eyes. At this point you can also guide by stating in your Will if you are happy with your organs being used for therapeutic purposes OR Medical and Scientific Research. If you have chosen the latter you will need to do some research prior to your passing and of course inform your Executors of your wishes so that they can be prepared.
Now that your organs have been planned it’s time to consider your Funeral Arrangements.
Note: you don’t have to specify your Funeral Arrangements, however unless you have previously discussed this with your Executors prior to your passing, it may be difficult for them to second guess your wishes.
Generally, there are two options for the dispersal of your body, either Cremation or Burial. Please remember, we are living in an evolving society so there may another option you personally would like to pursue.
If you decide to choose a Cremation you may wish to have your ashes scattered in a particular place, something that is memorable for you and your family. This way, even when you have passed, the memory of you for your loved ones will remain that special place.
On the other hand, if you have decided to be buried, there may be a family plot in which you would like to be interred, giving clear instructions for your Executors on its location would help them. It’s even been known that you can be buried on your own land, once again some research is required.
Your coffin, you can choose this also, generally this is not included in the wishes in your Will but given greater details in the Memorandum of Wishes which can be a hand written note stating your wishes and can either be stored within your Will or in a particular place your Executors would be aware of.
Finally, there is the celebration of Your Life. This may be represented in the form of the funeral service itself which can have a variety of options from a standard funeral service or a simple service or non-religious service or a humanist service, there are many options open to you. It’s your choice and this can be written into your Will.
You can also specify other things like ‘no black’, ‘no flowers’, ‘donations to….’ It is your choice.
Part of your funeral may include a wake, here again this could be included in your Will, but a Memorandum of Wishes as mentioned above would be suffice.
This may all sound very dark, however, where appropriate, by guiding your Executors, either within your Will, or through the Memorandum of Wishes or even through discussion prior to your passing has a positive influence on those whom you leave behind and you really can leave lasting memories in the celebration of Your Life.