05 May 2016 #Private Client
When drafting Wills for our clients, we always recommend that they include a section about their funeral wishes, as this normally isn’t something that families discuss around the dinner table.
As the theme of this month’s newsletter is sustainability, we thought it may be helpful to provide clients with the options available to them when it comes to their funeral options, focusing particularly on green funerals which are becoming increasingly popular.
When drafting Wills for our clients, we can include as much or as little guidance about their funeral as they wish. Although funeral wishes set out in Wills are only ‘wishes’, families and executors normally try to follow them as closely as possible - although there is no binding obligation on them to do so.
As a minimum, we tend to recommend that clients set out whether they wish to be buried or cremated. Without such a preference set out in their Wills, the families and executors of the deceased may find that they have a difficult decision to make – particularly where the deceased never discussed whether or not they had a strong preference for either burial or cremation.
Focussing on green funerals in particular, one of the key elements of such a funeral is a natural burial - cremation is not an option for those considering this. Likewise, there are strict rules on the types of coffin that can be used, which normally must be made from locally sourced sustainable materials that are biodegradable.
Rather than using a traditional cemetery, green funerals normally arrange funerals in sites serving a conservation purpose. Such sites are not immediately identifiable as burial grounds, as grave markings and any means of personalising graves with permanent memorials are forbidden. Tending the graves is also often prohibited, although many burial grounds allow a tree to be planted in memory of the deceased.
If you are interested in amending your Will to set out additional details about your funeral wishes, or to include a preference for a green funeral, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our private client team.