A practical guide to crafting your funeral wishes

A “Letter of Wishes” is a document which sets out your preferences regarding your funeral and other arrangements, following your death. There is no specific required format or template and it can be written or typed but should be signed and dated.

When preparing Wills we would encourage all of our clients to draft a letter of wishes and whenever appropriate to share  a copy of it with your nearest and dearest and/or the personal representatives named in your Will. We would also keep a copy of it with the Will in our Wills safe.  It is important to note that this document is not legally binding but of persuasive effect.

In your letter, you can specify your preference regarding various matters , such as;

  • Whether you want to be buried or cremated.
  • Your preference regarding an open or closed coffin during the service.
  • Whether you wish to have a religious service, a non-religious service, or no service at all.
  • Specify  any hymns, songs, music, poems or readings you want as part of the ceremony.
  • Outline the format of the funeral or memorial celebration you would like including any cultural or personal traditions.
  • Special Instructions: Include any special instructions, such as details about a cemetery plot or funeral insurance.
  • Whether you had a death benefit with the credit union or funeral insurance.

Once you’ve prepared your “Letter of Wishes,” it’s essential to share it with the relevant parties. We recommend giving a copy to the executors named in your Will.  This ensures they are aware of your wishes and can work towards fulfilling them.

The Significance of Your Choice

Although the “Letter of Wishes” is not legally binding, your choice of executor or personal representative in your Will plays a crucial role. When choosing an Executor, there is an implied degree of trust that the Executors will  honor do the right thing.  If you trust your Executor to  probate your estate than it follows that you should trust them to honor your letter of  wishes.

At Peter O’Connor & Sons Solicitors, we understand and appreciate the intricacies of estate planning and the importance of addressing every detail, including funeral arrangements. By having a “Letter of Wishes”, you can design  your farewell and ensure your final wishes are respected. We are here to assist you in navigating this process.

For more information, read Trusts: An Overview. We encourage you to consult directly with our expert team for specific legal advice tailored to your unique situation.