Share our article online.
Did you know about our Tea, Talk and Cake sessions at Emmersons Solicitors?
The talks involve members of the public and industry experts. They are an opportunity for us to inform you about many issues that arise on a regular basis, allow you to socialise with others in your community, and also for us to learn new things from our guest speakers.
At our last talk (Things to think about when drafting your will) I spoke to an interesting cross section of people about issues relating to making your will. We were also pleased to welcome Reverend Michelle Dalliston, vicar of St Aidan’s Church in Brunton Park, Gosforth. Michelle spoke to us about planning your funeral. You may think that this is a subject to be avoided, however, for those of you who have had to organise a funeral in the past you will appreciate that certainty of wishes is very important.
Michelle chatted to us about various options. Did you know that a Church of England vicar can conduct a service at other locations such as a crematorium or woodland burial ground? Did you know that different types of service can be offered e.g., a full religious service or a service that is less traditional and perhaps more about the life of your loved one. Anyone can have a funeral service at a Church of England church. Not just people who attended church regularly.
It is very easy to make assumptions about the type of funeral, or the venue, that your relative would have wished for. But are you making those assumptions based upon your own beliefs? Consider the case of Helen, a church-goer all her life, she never married and did not have children; her parents and only brother pre-deceased her. Most of Helen’s social life revolved around her church. When Helen died she did not leave a will. Her nearest relative was a cousin who lived in the South of England, had not seen Helen for twenty years and had no idea as to how she lived her life.
Helen’s cousin was not interested in religion, it did not feature in his life at all. Thus he decided that she should have a crematorium only service. This would have appalled Helen.
Equally, take the case of Fred, born a Catholic he stopped attending church as soon as he was married. He told me that he hated church, he hated his Catholic school and he particularly disliked the brothers who taught him. His sister however loved church, she went every morning and took great comfort from her faith. When Fred was very ill in hospital his sister asked her priest to give the last rites. The rest of the family, even though many were atheists, then agreed to a full Requiem Mass, really for the beneﬁt of Fred’s sister.
As I stood at his funeral I wondered just what Fred would have thought of this scenario.
Many of our clients indicate in their will their funeral wishes. If you are a churchgoer and you would like a religious funeral in a church then include this information in your will. That way your long lost cousin will follow your views and not their own. But remember, as solicitors, we may be contacted after a funeral has taken place. So it’s equally important to let your close friends and relatives know your wishes. You should also let the leader of your place of worship know that you have a will and that it includes your wishes. Just as important is letting them know the whereabouts of your original will in case of any dispute.
In the Jewish and Muslim faiths it is very important that a funeral takes place as soon as possible after death. That is ﬁne if everyone agrees. However, what if some family members want that funeral to take place in the country of birth instead? This can, and has led, to court proceedings to determine the issue. As you can imagine, very stressful for all concerned.
As with all matters relating to wills, I urge you to make your wishes clear in the will itself.
If you would like to attend any of our Tea Talk and Cake sessions please telephone: 0191 284 6989 for further information and to book your seat. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Jacqueline Emmerson