Why everyone should make a Will and consider funeral arrangements


17 July 2016

By Lisa Carter

One of the few certainties in life is death. None of us like to think about our own passing, but failure to do so can create difficulties for those we leave behind.Despite the uncomfortable reality that death comes to us all, of the 51 million adults living in the UK, 27 million (53%) do not have a Will and an even higher proportion have not considered funeral arrangements.

Why you should make a Will today

When you die, having a Will in place means that your relatives are able to sort out and distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes. This can be a time consuming and emotional process and so having a Will to guide loved ones will make their lives easier.

If you die without a Will – known as dying 'intestate' – then your assets will be shared out in accordance with a set of standard rules and not necessarily in the way you might have wanted.

A Will can, if drafted by a solicitor, help to reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that may be payable on the value of the assets you leave behind.

Having a Will in place is particularly important if you have children or family members who are financially dependent on you. Also, if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family, this must be included in a valid Will.

The importance of planning your funeral

There is a lot to consider when it comes to a funeral, including where and how you would like the funeral to take place, and ensuring there are sufficient funds set aside to carry out your wishes. However, if you do not put arrangements in place, the burden of making these decisions will fall on your loved ones after you die.

Decide who you want to arrange your funeral. Discuss with that person how you would like your funeral to be run and draw up a short note for them. 

Take time to think about how you would like to be remembered. Would you prefer a burial or cremation? Do you want a religious or humanist ceremony? Where would you like to be buried or have your ashes scattered? Which hymns would you like sang or poems read? These are the sort of details that you can only decide by planning ahead.

The average British funeral costs around £4,000. This is a significant sum and it can be difficult for relatives to find this money following your passing, at a time when emotions are running high. Many people are forced to resort to credit cards or payday loans in order to pay funeral costs. However, by planning ahead, this financial hurdle can be circumvented. It may be worth considering Life Insurance products that release a lump sum upon death to cover funeral expenses. 

Arguably the most important reason for getting a Will and funeral arrangements in place is that it will give you peace of mind, safe in the knowledge that you have made things easier for your relatives after your death. You will then be free to enjoy life and make plans for the future. 

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. 

At Gepp & Sons Solicitors we can advise on all aspects of wills, probate and inheritance tax planning. For more information and guidance, please contact Lisa Carter on 01245 228127 or email carterl@gepp.co.uk.