Does my Executor have to respect my funeral wishes?
When you pass, it is generally up to your next of kin to initiate funeral arrangements.
This is a highly emotional time and not having set plans and arrangements may lead to unwanted conflicts between already stressed family members. To ease this process, you can specifically detail your desired funeral arrangements in your Will, to assist those closest to you in their planning, under the direction of your chosen Executor.
Despite your wishes, funeral arrangements in Wills may not always be legally binding, which has the potential to lead to further conflict. Therefore, the wording and construction of your Will is vitally important to ensure that your Executor has the direction and power necessary to follow your funeral wishes.
Tips to ensure that the Executor carries out your funeral wishes
Tip 1: Appoint a lawyer to write your Will. This will ensure that your Will is constructed properly, worded clearly and details of all of your funeral wishes are included to help your Executor.
Tip 2: Be specific. Consider including things such as:
- Whether you want a funeral or a memorial service and where this service should be held;
- Who you wish to be told about your death and subsequent funeral arrangements;
- Whether you wish to be cremated or buried; and
- If you have set any money aside specifically to pay for your funeral expenses and where this money is kept.
Tip 3: Make sure you choose your Executor wisely. It should be someone that you can trust and you know will carry out your wishes in line with the directions made under the Will.
If an Executor has been explicitly directed to follow any funeral plans that have been made under a Will and they stray from these directions, applications can be made to the Supreme Court of South Australia where the Will can be contested, and directions and actions can be challenged.
If you are an Executor and want to know more, or are simply interested in drafting or updating your own Will, please do not hesitate to give us a call on (08) 8410 9294 or contact us via this form.