How do I make my funeral wishes known?

It can be tricky to discuss funeral wishes with close family and friends, as many people don’t like to think about it.

However, recording your final wishes and making them known to those nearest and dearest to you, can relieve a lot of stress for them when the time comes.

In this guide, we look closely at three of the main ways you can record your last requests, which don’t necessarily require you to have that difficult conversation.

These are:

Having your funeral wishes recorded one way or another will also give you peace of mind that your final farewell will be how you want it to be - especially if you have specific wishes in mind.

Continue reading this guide as we look at these 3 different ways you can record your funeral wishes...

A prepaid funeral plan

A prepaid funeral plan is a practical way of ensuring that your funeral wishes will be met when the time comes.

There are a choice of funeral plans varying in cost and level of service so that you can choose one to suit your wishes and budget.

Benefits of a funeral plan:

  • Plan your own funeral in advance and record your final wishes with professional assistance
  • Pay for your funeral in advance, in full or by monthly payments
  • Guarantee your essential services and avoid rising funeral costs
  • Protect loved ones from the difficult burden of planning your funeral

A typical funeral plan includes the following services for your funeral:

  • Essential funeral director services e.g. collection and care of the deceased, arranging of all aspects of the funeral, support and guidance for the bereaved family
  • Use of chapel of rest for loved ones to visit
  • A coffin, hearse and pallbearers
  • Contribution to third party fees e.g minister or celebrant for the ceremony, burial fees or cremation fees

Funeral plans arranged through Reassured cost from as little as £19.11* a month.

All plans arranged through us are approved by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), so you can be confident that you’re in safe hands.

Reassured has arranged prepaid funeral plans for more than 17,000 customers and we have many years of experience providing an FCA-regulated broker service.

Online funeral wishes tools

If you’re not ready to take out a funeral plan just yet, then recording your funeral wishes online could be the next best thing.

Here are the main online funeral wishes tools available in 2021^^:

1. SunLife & Dying Matters - My Perfect Send-off

My Perfect Send-off, set up by the insurer SunLife and the Dying Matters charity, is a simple online questionnaire that can be completed in a matter of minutes.

Key features:

  • Free and easy to use
  • Records key information such as whether your funeral will be cremation or burial, religious or non-religious, the type of coffin and so on
  • The completed questionnaire is sent to you by email so you can forward on to your loved ones or print off to be kept with your Will
  • If your funeral wishes change, you’d have to do the questionnaire again

Website: https://www.sunlife.co.uk/over-50-life-insurance/perfect-send-off/


2. My Wishes - Funeral Planning Software

The Funeral Planning Software from My Wishes is a straight-forward online software tool that allows you to record your funeral wishes, plus more.

Key features:

  • Free and easy to use
  • Requires username and password login
  • Document your funeral wishes, create your funeral playlist and write your own obituary
  • Documents can be downloaded as PDF to be printed or emailed and shared with loved ones
  • Software also allows you to draft your Last Will and Testament, as well as your Letter of Wishes, with easy-to-follow instructions
  • Other features include; leave goodbye messages, record video messages, share your bucket list, create a digital Will, decide your advance care plan and more
  • Entrust a close family member or friend to access your account after you pass away
  • You can update and make changes to your wishes by logging back in at any time

Website link: https://www.mywishes.co.uk/funeral-wishes


3. My Last Request

My Last Request is an independent service set up by a legal company to help people record their funeral wishes.

Key features:

  • Single subscription fee from £24.95^
  • Requires username and password login
  • Document your funeral wishes, record video messages and upload photos
  • Store information on prepaid funeral plans, life policies and/or details of a purchased burial plot
  • Choose from three different plans: 5 years, 10 years or 20 years access (during this time you can make as many changes to your wishes as you like, free of charge)
  • Entrust a close family member or friend to access your account after you pass away
  • It’s not possible to get a feel of the tool until you have signed up, so you’d need to contact the My Last Request team to learn more about its ease of use

Website link: https://mylastrequest.co.uk/

^£24.95 fee allows you to make changes to your My Last Request account for up to 5 years.


4. Legacy of Lives - Funeral Wishes Plan

The Funeral Wishes Plan set up by Legacy of Lives allows you to record your funeral wishes with handy tips and guides to help you complete the forms.

Key Features:

  • Free and easy to use
  • Requires username and password
  • Includes helpful guides and advice for funeral planning (for you and your loved ones when the time comes)
  • Document your funeral wishes and find out how much your chosen services will cost with funeral director quote comparison tool
  • Upload photos, keepsakes, poems and add notes to loved ones
  • Store key information, documents and contacts
  • Documents can be downloaded as a PDF to be printed or emailed and shared with loved ones
  • Can log in and make changes to your wishes at any time

Website link: https://www.legacyoflives.com/

Funeral wishes templates

There are plenty of free funeral wishes templates available online that can be filled in and printed off at your leisure.

Here are some good examples:

Most funeral plan providers offer free funeral wishes templates too, enabling you to record your wishes before you’re ready to commit to the cost of a funeral plan through them.

For example, Simplicity Cremations offer a Share Your Funeral Wishes form free of charge; they simply send you the form to complete and print off.

One disadvantage of using a printable funeral wishes template is that if your funeral wishes change at any point, you may need to print off and fill in the template again.

What could be included in my funeral wishes?

When writing your funeral wishes, you can include as little or as much information as you like.

For example, you may include:

  • Your preference of funeral director (if you have one)
  • Whether the funeral will be religious or non-religious
  • Whether it will be a cremation or burial and where this should take place
  • The type of coffin you’d like
  • Where you should be buried (for burial)
  • Where your ashes should be scattered (for cremation)

You could go into more detail and include:

  • Dress code for mourners
  • Funeral music that you’d like to be played
  • If there is a reading and who you’d want to read it
  • Type of flowers that you’d like

Does a Will include funeral wishes?

Yes, it’s fairly common for a Will to include funeral wishes.

However, it’s recommended that funeral wishes are also kept separate from your Will if possible.

This is because the person arranging your funeral may not have access to your Will until after the funeral arrangements have begun.

It’s also easier and quicker to make changes to your funeral wishes if they are recorded elsewhere, as changing your Will (which is a legal document) can be complicated and costly.

If you need help trying to find out if someone has a Will, read our comprehensive guide »

Please note: recording your funeral wishes doesn’t make them legally binding, even if they are included in your Will.

The executor of your Will has the legal right to make decisions about your funeral and can overrule your funeral wishes or the wishes of your closest family members.

However, it’s likely that the executor, or the person arranging your funeral, will follow your specific funeral wishes if they’re recorded and available to them.

Make sure you get the funeral you want

Unfortunately, many people in the UK are still reluctant to talk about death and funerals.

According to a 2021 survey of people who’d recently arranged a funeral:

  • Only 1% knew all their loved ones’ funeral wishes
  • 45% didn’t know whether their loved one wanted a cremation or burial
  • 17% didn’t know any of their loved ones’ wishes at all

Not knowing a loved ones’ final wishes can cause additional stress and upset for families who are arranging their funeral.

Source: SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021

Prepaid funeral plans through Reassured

A prepaid funeral plan allows you to record your funeral wishes and plan your own funeral in advance.

With a plan in place, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re protecting your loved ones from the additional stress of having to guess your final wishes.

Not only that but you’ll have knowledge in advance of how much your funeral wishes will cost, as you’ll take care of the cost yourself.

A funeral plan also locks-in today’s prices, avoiding rising funeral costs.

Compare plan prices and features, free of charge, using our award-winning broker service today.

Sources:

*£19.11 per month pricing includes a £75 discount only available to Co-operative members and is based on a 50-year-old purchasing a Co-operative Simple Funeral Plan at £3,020 over the maximum term available of 25 years (total amount repayable £5,733.40) as of 1st March 2021

^^Reassured has no affiliation with these websites

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All of the funeral plans we provide are fully regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) ensuring you and your money are protected.

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