Making your funeral plans known ensures your loved ones can honour your wishes to ‘go your own way’.
ESTATE PLANNING

How do I make my funeral plan known?

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  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
  • September 22, 2020
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When it comes to estate planning, some people have very specific wishes about how they want their funeral and final disposition to be conducted. A funeral or memorial is the very last chance to celebrate a life well-lived. So making your funeral plan known in your Last Will & Testament, Living Will, or Advance Care Directive ensures your loved ones can honour your wishes to ‘go your own way’. That might be indicating a specific funeral director, or details of the type of memorial you’d like.

Planning a funeral can be very stressful for your surviving family and friends who will already be facing a difficult time coping with your death. So leaving your Executor or Next of Kin with specific funeral instructions as part of the estate planning process ensures you’ll ‘go your own way’ when the time comes.

Despite having a clear idea of what sort of final farewell they would like, many people don’t know how to go about telling their loved ones their funeral wishes. So, we’ve created a template to help you form your own funeral instructions. This document may be stored with other estate planning documents like a Last Will & Testament, Living Will or Advance Care Directive, or given to your Executor or Next of Kin to keep safe until the time comes.

Leaving detailed instructions about how you want to be celebrated will help to take the stress off your loved ones when it comes to arranging your funeral or memorial later on.

Consider the type of funeral you’d like

Before you get started writing out your funeral plan, think about the type of funeral you’d like. Do you imagine a traditional funeral, in a church or chapel? Or would you prefer or more informal gathering, like at a park, a relative’s home, or your favourite spot in nature?

The average Australian today is well informed, price-conscious and non-traditional. So more than ever, many people are saying farewell to traditional funerals. In a recent study, we found more than 90% of Australians would prefer a simple, and non-traditional service over an expensive and traditional funeral, when the time comes. But if their wishes aren’t specified in their Will, there’s a high chance they’ll get a traditional, expensive funeral instead of what they really wanted.

Although a fairly new concept to some, a direct cremation allows families to separate the arrangements of a cremation without a traditional funeral church or chapel service. Without the need to involve a funeral home, a direct cremation allows the freedom and flexibility to personalise a loved one’s memorial separately, to match their unique personality – and at a fraction of the price.

Bare Cremation offers direct cremations to allow Australians the flexibility to arrange a memorial that is a more fitting celebration of the way a loved one lived it. With a Bare Cremation, you can also save up to 80% compared with traditional funeral directors. There’s even the option to pre-pay your funeral to help remove the stress on your family later on.

To find out more or request a free quote, head to the Bare Cremation website here or call 1800 951 897.

Making your funeral plans known ensures your loved ones can honour your wishes to ‘go your own way’.
Making your funeral wishes known ensures that your loved ones can honour your wishes to ‘go your own way’.

Making your funeral plan known

The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your Executor and loved ones to carry out your funeral plan. If you are writing your Will using the Bare Will Kit, you will be prompted to enter your funeral wishes. However, if you are writing your Will yourself, make your funeral wishes known on a fresh sheet of A4 paper, either by hand-writing or typing out your instructions.

Begin with the heading ‘Funeral Instructions’. Then note down information about your funeral plan, including if you would like a burial or a cremation; if you have a preferred funeral director; and where you want to be buried, or if cremated – where you would like your ashes scattered. It’s important to include any information of a prepaid funeral plan you have purchased and the company’s contact details, as well as any other relevant information.

Below is an example of a Funeral Instructions page that you can copy if you wish. You do not need to include all of the choices as listed here, you just need to write in the preferences that apply to you, and note what your wishes are.

When your Funeral Instructions page has been completed, you should store it loosely with your Will, perhaps in an envelope, but DO NOT staple or attach it to your Will in any way as that can make the Will an invalid legal document.

It’s also a good idea to give a copy to your Executor, or at least let them know that the funeral plan document exists and where it can be found.

Your funeral will likely be held within a few days of your death, so having this Funeral Instructions form accessible will help your Executor considerably.

Sample Funeral Instructions form

If you have pre-planned your funeral with a funeral director or you would like to make your funeral plan known, you can make own Funeral Instructions document to assist your Executor. You may either hand-write it or type it up, using the below sample funeral instructions form as a guide.

You do not need to include all of these choices as listed here, they are merely options to prompt you as you complete your instructions. Simply include any preferences or instructions which apply.

Funeral instructions with a burial

For a burial, use the below instructions as a guide. Remove or amend any options that don’t apply:

 

I have completed this document to provide instructions concerning my funeral and final disposition arrangements and/or requests.

I, ______________ of ______________ have a prepaid funeral plan for a burial arranged through ______________ . The location of my signed agreement is ______________ .

OR if you have not made funeral arrangements use this line instead:

I have not yet made funeral arrangements, but I direct to use the services of ______________ at______________ at the time of my passing. Please call ______________ to make arrangements.

I request that my funeral service be held at ______________ <church, chapel, or other location>and the following observances be conducted ______________ .

I direct that my body, or the remainder of my body is buried at ______________ .

Or if I died in interstate, I direct that my body or the remainder of my body is/is not disposed of near where I died by burial/cremation; my remains are brought back to my home state or territory and buried at ______________ / cremated. I’d prefer my ashes to be ______________ .

Or if I died in overseas, I direct that my body or the remainder of my body is/is not disposed of near where I died by burial/cremation; my remains are brought back to Australia and buried at ______________ / cremated. I’d prefer my ashes to be ______________ .

Signed: ______________ Dated: ______________ .

 

Funeral instructions with a cremation

For a cremation use the below instructions as a guide instead. Remove or amend any options that don’t apply:

 

I have completed this document to provide instructions concerning my funeral and final disposition arrangements and/or requests.

I, ______________ of ______________ have a prepaid funeral plan for a cremation arranged through ______________ . The location of my signed agreement is ______________ .

OR if you have not made funeral arrangements use this line instead:

I have not yet made funeral arrangements, but I direct to use the services of ______________ at ______________ at the time of my passing. Please call ______________ to make arrangements.

I request that my funeral service be held at ______________ <church, chapel, or other location> and the following observances be conducted: ______________ .

I direct that my body, or the remainder of my body is cremated. I would prefer the cremation to happen at ______________ . I’d prefer my ashes to be <include only the option which is relevant> buried at ______________ / kept at ______________ / scattered at ______________ .

Or if I died in interstate, I direct that my body or the remainder of my body is/is not disposed of near where I died by burial/cremation; my remains are brought back to my home state or territory and buried at ______________ / cremated. I’d prefer my ashes to be ______________ .

Or if I died in overseas, I direct that my body or the remainder of my body is/is not disposed of near where I died by burial/cremation; my remains are brought back to Australia and buried at ______________ / cremated. I’d prefer my ashes to be ______________ .

Signed: ______________ Dated: ______________ .

 

We hope that this guide will help make your funeral plans known, to support your estate planning. Having a think about your funeral wishes and letting your family or Next of Kin know your intentions can ensure you get the send-off that best celebrates your unique life.

To obtain a Bare Will Kit to write your Will in minutes, visit Bare Wills here. Want to see what our direct cremation service will cost in your area? To get a free quote for a cremation visit the Bare Cremation website or call 1800 202 901.

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  • Mel Buttigieg
  • Writer, Bare
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