Make Your Funeral Wishes Known When You Make a Will

31 October 2016

Making a Will is really important for many reasons but many people don’t realise that they can leave instructions about their funeral wishes in their Will too.

It is important to know that any instructions you leave in your Will about your funeral are not legally binding as your Executor will be the one to decide on your funeral and ultimately whether you are cremated or buried. But usually, if you have left instructions in your Will about your funeral, they will most likely be followed.

And don’t underestimate how reassuring it can be for your loved ones or family members to know that the funeral they are arranging for you is actually what you wanted.

So what instructions can you leave for your family about your funeral wishes and how do you go about leaving them in your Will?

You can really be as descriptive and detailed or as vague as you want. Many people just specify if they would prefer to be cremated or buried as a lot of people feel strongly about one or the other of these methods. If that’s the case, and you are happy to just choose one or the other and leave the rest of the arrangements to your family then just add that choice into your Will.

But if that’s not enough, you could decide to be much more detailed. You may want to express a preference to some or all of the following:

  • Where your funeral should be held
  • Where you want to be buried
  • Whether you want your ashes, kept, scattered or buried and if so, where
  • What music you would like played at your funeral
  • How much money should be spent on your funeral
  • Whether you want flowers or donations to charity

This is not a complete list by any means and you can be as vague or as detailed as you want. Unless you have a strong preference for any of these things then you may not want to put anything in your Will. However, a very personal funeral can often be a source of comfort and happiness for those you leave behind.

You can go even further in your Will and express your wishes for organ donation, but alongside any wishes expressed about donating your organs after you die, you should also take the two minutes it takes to complete the online form to add yourself to the NHS Organ Donation Register.

By the time your Will is found and read, it may be too late to donate your organs, so express your preferences both in your Will and also on the Organ Donation Register.

But how do you go about adding this kind of detail to your Will?

Your first step is to actually think about whether you want to leave any preferences at all and if you do what those preferences are. You’ll need to think about the level of detail you want to include and how practical (and potentially expensive) this will be for those you leave behind.

You might consider a pre-paid funeral plan which can help you to have an amount of control over your funeral because you’ve already paid for it and decided exactly what you want.

Either way, you should make some notes about what you want to include so that when you are making a Will, you know exactly what you want to include. When you make a Will there is a certain amount of preparation as you have to know who will be your Executor and who will be Guardians for your children, so adding in some additional preparation around your funeral should not be too difficult.

Finally, talk to your loved ones about what you want for your funeral. If you want them to do something specific, a conversation about what you want will help. Be honest and open with them and whether you put your wishes in your Will or not, they should take note of what you want.

If you would prefer not to discuss this with your loved ones, our experienced Will writers can help you to prepare a letter of wishes that will detail your wishes for when the time comes.

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