Celebrate your life, your way, with My Funeral Wishes
Have you ever thought about what you want for your funeral? You probably already know whether you want to be buried or cremated, but what about the details? Where do you want your funeral to be held? Do you want readings and, if so, which ones and read by whom? Perhaps there's even a particular route you would like your hearse to take.
By taking the initiative and setting out what you want now, you can get on with living your life, knowing that when the time comes your loved ones will know what you wanted and be spared from having to make difficult decisions.
To help you do this, Dying Matters and the National Association of Funeral Directors have produced My Funeral Wishes. It's a simple form which lets you create a personal funeral plan that reflects you as an individual.
My Funeral Wishes is completely free and simple to do: just fill in the sections that are important to you. You can always revisit the form if you want to add additional details. However, bear in mind that a funeral is above all an occasion for your family and friends to express their grief and celebrate your life, so don’t feel you need to dictate every aspect of it.
Once filled in, put the form in a safe place - letting a loved one know where it is; you might even like to give a copy to someone for safekeeping.
Two very different funerals
Husband and wife Ronnie and Lilian, left, who lived in Norfolk, had very different funerals. Ronnie communicated what he wanted before his death, and it brought his family comfort to know that they had arranged his funeral just how he would have wanted it. Lilian's, a few years later, was a very different story. The music, the choice of venue for the reception afterwards, even the clothes Lilian was dressed in were not what some of her loved ones thought she would have wanted, and this caused distress and disunity in her family.
Suzanne Rich of Age UK shares the poignant story of two very different funerals. Read Ronnie and Lilian's story.
My Funeral Wishes Q&A
Why should I plan for my funeral?
One of the most thoughtful things you can do for your family is to give them the freedom to celebrate your life instead of the burden of planning your funeral. In addition, by capturing your funeral wishes in writing you'll know that your requests will be honoured.
As well as easing the emotional toil on your family, planning - and paying - for your funeral in advance will ease any financial burden on them, avoiding issues and even potential conflict.
Does My Funeral Wishes cost?
My Funeral Wishes is completely free to do.
What if I have wishes not covered by the form or I need more space?
If you need more space, have specific information you want to add (e.g. the words of a poem or reading), or a funeral wish not covered elsewhere on the leaflet, please continue on another sheet of paper and attach it to the form.
End of life planning tools
Final Fling provides free Life Planning tools to help you put your affairs in order. With the 'Wishes' tools you can record what you want to happen after your death. Visit www.finalfling.com.
Organising a funeral
Always chose a funeral director who is a member of either the National Association of Funeral Directors or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. Both of these organisations follow strict codes of practice and must provide you with a price-list if asked. Contact:
- The National Association of Funeral Directors, 618 Warwick Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 1AA. Phone: 0845 230 1343.
- The National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, 3 Bullfields, Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire CM21 9DB. Phone: 0845 230 6777.
There is no legal requirement to use a funeral director. If this is something you're considering, the Natural Death Centre provide free advice and guidance.
Direct Gov: What to do after a death. This is the official government website for UK citizens. There is useful information on dealing with a death, including advice on funeral options, using a funeral director and how to apply for help covering funeral costs if you are receiving tax credit.
Other useful sources of information and advice on organising a funeral include:
Personalising your funeral
How you have your funeral is entirely up to you. The Good Funeral Guide has some helpful advice on this which you might like to read before filling in your form.
Our powerful and poignant film, I Didn't Want That, shows the importance of planning your funeral and sharing your wishes.
For an example of a deeply personalised funeral, in this case that of a young man who died in a road traffic accident while on holiday, watch the film Beyond Goodbye.
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