During Dying Matters week, people around the country are being encouraged to think about death, which despite being something that will happen to us all, is very much a taboo subject in the UK.
One of the issues that comes up time again when I meet with clients is their funeral wishes, which are often included within a Will. If it is the client's wish to be cremated there is then the thought about what they would like to happen to their ashes.
Under law, if the person who organised the cremation does not pick up the ashes, they must be dealt with "decently". But for those family members who do pick up the ashes there are a few rules that must be followed if they want to scatter the ashes in a specific place.
I saw one tweet where someone said they wanted their ashes scattered at Glastonbury Festival. As the festival takes place on private land, to do this you would need to get the permission of the land owner. This is true of any private land, including golf courses.
Often people (mostly men, it has to be said!) request that their ashes are scattered on the pitch of their favourite football team. Certain clubs do allow this, but several now have special memorial gardens where ashes can be scattered so as not to damage the playing surface which they spend great time and expense to perfect.
Another common request is for ashes to be scattered at sea or in rivers and streams. This is allowed in general, but The Environment Agency is concerned about personal items or wreaths accompanying the ashes due to the effect these may have on the environment. They also issue guidance on the best way for this to be done so as not to pollute the environment.
However, scattering ashes or keeping them on the mantelpiece is not the only thing that can be done with ashes. I have clients who want their ashes to be made into a diamond and the diamond to be given to a loved one, and others have requested that their ashes are included in a firework and the firework be set off over a special place, and for sea-life lovers it is possible for your ashes to be incorporated into a coral reef.
However you would like your ashes to be dealt with after you have gone, make sure that you let your loved ones know. Often dealing with the funeral and the final resting place of a loved one is the last service one can do and most people want to make sure they get it right.