Should You Leave Your Funeral Wishes In Your Will?

When you get started planning your will, one of the first things you might think of is how you want to be remembered. It makes complete sense that you would want a say in how your life is celebrated once you pass. Do you want to ceremony to be somber or joyful? Will there be music? Where will it be? Do you want a traditional burial, or would you want to opt for body donation or composting instead? It’s only natural to want to plan in advance in order to take the burden of planning off of our loved ones.

But does it really matter if you leave your funeral wishes in your will?

In short, no. But why is that?

They’ll Have Already Planned Things

In the wake of a loved one passing, plans for funeral or memorial services happen fairly quickly. Often times, the will of the deceased isn’t even opened until after funeral events have already taken place. By that time, your wishes that are contained within the will are moot, since the ceremonies have already taken place.

Funeral Wishes in a Will Are Not Legally Binding

Your final will and testament is primarily used to provide information and direction for the distribution of your estate after your passing. This includes distribution of your financial assets, personal possessions, and physical property. Since person preferences on funeral plans are not directly related to your estate, the executor of the will is not under obligation to see that they are met. Instead, funeral planning typically falls to those family and friends closest to you. Those who, as we’ve already mentioned, likely will have started and finished any funeral dealings before your will is even opened.

Letting Your Voice Be Heard

Although your will may not have much weight in determining your desires for your funeral or preferred form of burial, there are other ways to make sure your voice is heard. Even though having a conversation about your wishes for your funeral while you are still around can be a difficult conversation both for you and your family members, it is the best way to ensure hat your wishes are fulfilled once you pass. This gives you the chances to clearly express what you would want, and helps keep your family from having to guess once you’re gone. Additionally, having a written document that contains your wishes in a known place can be a huge relief for both you and your family.

Published 06/15/2021.