Plan ahead to save funeral grief

A reluctance to discuss funeral wishes could cause added stress for grieving relatives following the death of a loved one, says a Dorset legal expert.

Blanchards Bailey Partner Jerome Dodge, Head of Private Client – Wills and Estate Planning, says it is important to have plans in place.

His views follow the publication of a new survey revealing that only one per cent of people knew all their loved ones’ funeral wishes.

The Cost of Dying Report 2022 also noted that only two in five people were sure whether their partner would like a religious or non-religious ceremony, and just over half knew if they’d want a burial or cremation.

Blandford-based Jerome said: “It comes as no surprise that people are reticent to talk about funeral plans but having an outline in place will remove a level of stress for loved ones at a difficult time.

“People will often include details of their funeral wishes in their Will or leave a note which is stored alongside their Will. However, by doing this, you run the risk of your wishes being ignored if the Will isn’t looked at until after the funeral has taken place.”

Jerome, a member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners, a body of the most experienced and senior practitioners in the field of trusts and estates, added: “I would therefore urge everyone to consider having those difficult conversations with their families in advance.

“This will ensure their wishes are carried out and ultimately this will ease the burden on their loved ones when making those arrangements.”

The Duke of Edinburgh famously choreographed his own funeral, which took place last April following his death aged 99 – little fuss, no state occasion, no sermon, his body carried by a Land Rover Defender – well before the occasion was affected by Covid-19 regulations.

The Cost of Dying Report, published annually by financial services company Sunlife, also reveals that the average cost of a funeral is now £4,056 – a drop of 3.1 per cent since 2020.

This is put down to in part to how the pandemic has led to simpler funerals, with just 25 per cent being burials last year, 57 per cent cremations and, at 18 per cent, an increasing number of low-cost ‘direct cremations’ with no hearse, no ceremony and a basic coffin.

Jerome added: “Whatever your preference for your send-off, be it grand or simple, it is really incumbent upon you to give a little thought to and discuss the arrangements.”

For further advice on making a Will, Probate and Estate Planning please contact Jerome Dodge on 01258 459361. 

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