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Legal News | 11.01.24

Do you have a death wish?

With this title our Private Client team is, of course, referring to funeral wishes.

Funerals can be a divisive thing. Some wish to donate their bodies to science. Others prefer to avoid the prospect of a funeral entirely, instead deferring decisions to their family members on death. Some have specific wishes, with requests for hymns, dress code and, on occasion, rather creative ideas…

  • Fred Bauer, the inventor of Pringles, asked his family to place a portion of his ashes into a Pringles can and bury this next to the rest of his ashes.
  • Hunter S Thompson, who notably kept his ashtray on a crate of live dynamite, requested that his ashes were shot out of a cannon shaped like a giant fist.
  • After Bruce Lee’s death, a film he had been working on was rewritten to include footage of his funeral.
  • Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, had The Muppets as the star performers at his memorial service.

Whatever your funeral wishes, these should be clearly communicated to your family members whilst you are alive. If you wish to avoid potential family tension, where recollections as to your wishes vary, you can include your funeral wishes in your Will or a Letter of Wishes, too.

You should be aware that funeral wishes are not binding on your executors and so they can deal with your funeral in whatever manner they wish. This may also help your executors if your funeral wishes seem beyond the realms of possibility…  such as scattering your ashes in space or asking to become a tree after you have died. Scratch that – both of these options do, in some form, exist.

If you wish to include funeral wishes in your Will or discuss any wider wishes that you may have when it comes to planning for what should happen after your death, please do get in touch with our Private Client team by emailing wealth@wansbroughs.com.


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team