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Funeral Instructions… why leave it to up to chance?

05 March 2020

Although it may be something not many people want to contemplate, a funeral is something which is inevitable for everyone at the end of their lives. Some people are clear as to their wishes regarding what they would like to happen following their death… others not so much. However, even if someone believes they have made their wishes clear, nothing can be more certain that leaving your instructions in writing and nominating a particular individual or individuals to be responsible for implementing these instructions.

    Katie Coates

    Katie Coates, Senior Solicitor

The vast majority of people in the UK are unaware that, in the absence of clear instructions, there is a ranked order of persons who are responsible for making funeral arrangements for a loved one (Ref: The Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016, Section 65). In particular, a cohabitant who has been living with the deceased for a continuous period of 6 months or more would have preferential right to make the funeral arrangements over a person’s child or parent. It is easy to see why in some circumstances this could cause some tension and upset amongst the loved ones of a deceased person. This could be easily avoided by a person detailing their specific funeral instructions in writing during their life.

Additionally, it has recently been reported that the number of traditional or religious ceremonies in the UK is decreasing rapidly and that other more modern services and alternative funeral locations are on the rise (eg. a MacDonald’s Drive-Thru - read here) . There are also now more creative and personal ways in which your ashes can be interred; being made into a tattoo or floating away in a balloon to only name a few! Would you be confident that your family would know exactly what you would like to happen, and who would be responsible for arranging matters, given the wider range of ceremonies and options available?

How can we help?

We can provide professional advice in order to make sure that your funeral instructions are provided clearly and concisely. This normally involves preparing writing to this effect, either in your Will or another supporting document. As part of this process, we would also provide advice relating to the winding up of your estate generally on death, to ensure that all of your personal affairs would be dealt with properly and in accordance with your wishes.

The benefit of using professional advisors to assist is twofold. Firstly, it will bring you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected following your death and secondly, it will provide guidance and clarity to loved ones regarding your wishes at a time when they are dealing with their loss.

If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Wills, Estates and Succession Planning Team, who would be delighted to assist you.

Contact: Katie Coates T: 0141 221 8012


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