Planning ahead for Funerals
While many of us may feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of our own mortality and the idea of arranging our own farewell, by planning ahead now you will be taking some of the logistical and financial stress from your family whilst ensuring that you have the style of funeral that you want.
Make a Will
A Will is a legal document, which enables you to exercise your right to select those relatives and friends who will inherit the assets you have acquired during your lifetime.
When making a Will the choice of an executor is vital. It is advisable to choose someone who will act independently and without bias in the interests of the beneficiaries.
It is often the case that a relative or friend is nominated as the executor but, due to the complexities of the role in today’s legal minefield, many are choosing to appoint a legal representative.
Your Will should be reviewed whenever there is a change in circumstances, or at least every five years to ensure it accords with your current wishes.
Marriage automatically revokes a Will (unless it was prepared in contemplation of marriage). Divorce does not revoke a Will, although some rights of the former spouse under the Will generally lapse.
The following funeral requests and requirements can be specified in the Will: choice of Funeral Director; church or religious affiliation; wishes as to burial or cremation; the venue for the funeral service; details of cemetery plots, whether family owned or yet to be purchased; memorial instructions and niche for placement of ashes.
Your Will should be kept in a safe place of which should be made known to your next of kin or legal representative.
Choosing Between Burial or Cremation?
It’s important to let your family know your wishes as to whether you want to be buried or cremated. This can be written in your Will, or in a letter to your family. It’s important that they know your intentions to avoid any unnecessary stress at the time of need. In fact this will be one of the first questions that the attending doctor and funeral director will ask at the time of your passing.
If you choose burial, pre-purchase a burial plot in a cemetery, or let your family know where you would like to be buried. It may also be a good time to decide whether you would like to pre-purchase additional plots so other family members may be buried next to you.
If you choose cremation, let your family know what you’d like done with your cremated remains. Options include burial, scattering, or placing in an urn or columbarium.