Funeral Wishes and Reasons to Have a Will
Funeral wishes can be a source of friction for bereaved families and can often result in a family falling out shortly after the death of a loved one. Family disputes can arise over whether a deceased loved one is to be buried or cremated, what grave is to be used or where a deceased person’s ashes are to be scattered.
Where a person passes away without a Will there is no person lawfully authorised to make these decisions until a Grant of Representation has been issued by the Probate Registry. This process can often take many months.
One great advantage of a person having a properly prepared Will is the appointment of an executor or executors to deal with the estate of the person when they pass away.
A valid appointment of an executor in a Will has the effect that the body of the person who has passed away becomes the lawful property of the executor.
This means the executor is empowered to deal with the funeral of the deceased in any way they consider appropriate and importantly to deal with any family disputes that may arise in respect of the deceased’s funeral.
Funeral Wishes are not Legally Binding
It is important to bear in mind that funeral wishes expressed in a Will are not legally binding, indeed anything in a Will which is expressed as a wish is not legally binding.
People can include lengthy and complicated funeral wishes in their Wills which may be emotionally meaningful and may serve as guidance but this can be a source of anxiety for their executor and families at a challenging time.
It is therefore a relief to them when they realise that such wishes are not legally binding and the executor is able to make any funeral arrangements they consider realistic in any given circumstances.
Where a Will appoints a Professional Executor the executor would typically carry out any expressed wishes in the Will to the letter.
Funeral expenses & Inheritance Tax
Where an estate on death is subject to inheritance tax, (IHT), IHT is charged at a rate of 40%. The only expenses that can be incurred after the date of death that can be set against IHT are reasonable funeral costs and expenses.
It is therefore very important to keep a careful record of all such expenses as they can be used to reduce the charge to tax. This can be difficult to bear in mind at an emotionally upsetting time when grieving for the loss of a loved one.
The only way to ensure your estate is dealt with according to your instructions is by having a valid Will in place.
Our Wills, Trusts, and Estates team with solicitors specialising in the preparation of simple Wills to complex Wills, tailored to your needs and can help you with legal advice.
* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*