Many people have a clear picture of how they want their funeral to be conducted. Technically, the executors of a Will are responsible for implementing funeral arrangements but are not obliged to follow any wishes related to this that are expressed in the Will. Sadly, as a result, disputes can arise.
In recognition of the lack of formal guarantees in relation to funeral wishes being carried out, a Law Commission report recommended that such requests be made legally binding.
In the meantime, contentious situations can be minimised by making your funeral wishes clear in advance through discussing the detailed arrangements with family members and including basic plans, e.g. a preference for burial or cremation, directly in your Will or in an accompanying letter. If arrangements are still likely to be contentious, express authority can be included in the Will itself to specifically direct executors on what can be spent on the funeral, wake and costs related to the disposal of your body. This course of action will provide certainty and eliminate the possibility of dispute.
Invoices issued by funeral directors can be settled from the deceased’s estate through a direct payment from their bank account. However, this is not the case regarding the costs of a wake unless all beneficiaries agree to it and disputes can arise. Without this consent, the executors of a Will are not authorised to settle any invoices submitted.