I recently had a long chat with Rita, the funeral arranger at J H Kenyon, our local funeral directors to discuss what clients should consider about their final send off and  what they should discuss with their family and friends about their funeral wishes.

Let people know what you would like for your funeral – or even jot a note down

Having once arranged a funeral for a client I had never met and who had no family, it is really important to consider what you would like to happen and make a note of it or tell your family.  Luckily in her will the deceased said she wanted to be cremated.  I made enquiries of the friend who was her handyman and he provided the eulogy and we found a way to put the funeral details out to her friends and former colleagues and the beneficiaries in the will, but it was detective work.  The residue went to ten charities and I was really impressed that of these beneficiaries Great Ormond Street Hospital representatives attended the funeral without knowing how much they might receive.

A number of my clients have recently been saying they want a cheap funeral and a bit of a party.  One has even designated party planners and left a sizeable sum for the do and this is in the will – the party plan is a separate document.

Do you have a strong preference for burial or cremation?  Do you want flowers or music? And if you do, can you specify what in particular you would like – carnations or bird of paradise, rap or Bach?

The regulations around pre-paying funerals have recently changed and come under the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority, driving some of the cowboys out of the market.  https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-regulation-boosts-consumer-protection-funeral-plans-market   If you have particular wishes (especially if you have concerns that they may not be followed) or want to tidy your affairs before you die, you could consider prepaying your funeral – my theory being that most beneficiaries will not want to pay twice for a funeral if they don’t have too!

If you have not pre-paid, and most of us have not, your funeral can be paid directly from your bank account after you die, even before probate has been granted (provided there are funds there).  Your representatives just need to present the invoice to your bank.

Do remember that there is no property in a body, which means that your executors/next of kin/funeral arranges do not have to follow your wishes but the more explicit you make them, the more likely they will and the less stress they will have at a difficult time.


For further information on the issues raised, including drafting wills and inheritance planning, please contact the head of our private client team, Miriam Spero at ms@branchaustinmccormick.com

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
32 St James’s Street