Are funeral wishes in a Will legally binding?

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Are funeral wishes in a Will legally binding?

The funeral wishes in your Will are not legally binding. Your executor is not required to follow them. Do not clutter your Will with directions for your funeral and remains.

Your Will has to take a journey. It goes to the Supreme Court Probate office for your Will to be proved. It then goes to the land titles office to transfer your real estate. Your Will is then a public document at which time the ATO is at liberty to squeeze any tax it can out of your Will.

Do not put extraneous information in your Will. It just adds complexity to your Will. A Will just gives away what you own. Do not try and make it do things for which it is not designed. 

Rather, speak to your executors and loved ones and let them know if you want to be buried, cremated or something else.

Can I write a letter for my funeral and body remains?

Want to put something in writing? That is fine. Just hand write (do not type) your wishes for your funeral and remains in a letter. And keep that letter with your Will. Address the letter to “My executors and family”

Expressing your funeral wishes is thoughtful. It eases the stress on your family in making decisions on the type of funeral you want.

What do I put in a letter as to my funeral arrangements?

Your letter contains directions such as:

  • The use of your body for medical purposes (eg organ donation or research and education). But make sure you have also completed all the government requirements as well.
  • Funeral. Want to be buried or burnt? Do you have a location?
  • Do you have a preferred funeral director?
  • Have you pre-paid your funeral or burial plot? Or have you purchased bonds from the funeral director?
  • Do you want a lavish funeral? Most Will makers want expenses kept to a minimum. But some funeral directors often ‘upsell’ to the grieving loved ones.
  • Do you want a religious service? Is there a particular faith? Many aesthetics and agnostics scammer back to their child’s religious affiliations when the fear of death looms.
  • ‘In Memoriam’ gifts to charities or groups, rather than flowers?
  • Directions such as music?

Funeral wishes are never binding in a Will or in a letter

Whether they are in the Will (not correct) or in a letter (better option) funeral wishes are never legally binding on your executor or family. But they do express your preferences.

Pre-paying my funeral to try and override my executors in my Will?

If you want to put in a financial incentive then pre-pay your funeral. And direct exactly what you want. (That also helps you get Centrelink as well. A contract showing you paid in full for your funeral reduces your assessable assets. This is for the Centrelink assets test.  The assets test removes the amount you:

  • prepay to a funeral director
  • invest in a funeral bond for the funeral director.)

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