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Advance Funeral Wishes

Advance funeral wishes is inspired and adapted from documents previously produced by : The Natural Death Centre

There are numerous and various versions of this document online, it was originally produced by The Natural Death Centre in the late nineties / early 2000's, a time when people were just starting to become more open to, and explore, alternative funeral options. - This was our version then and is still valid today.

Funeral Wishes, whether in a will or in a letter, or in a form as below, are not legally binding on friends and relatives, therefore it is vitally important that the people who will be responsible for your funeral arrangements are aware of your particular wishes. We are sure most people will, when the occasion arises, follow your wishes where at all possible;

At the very least, we hope that what follows below may inspire and encourage you to think about the kind of funeral you might or might not like, you also may like to print out or download this in pdf form in order to consider and explore more fully the various options and permutations that are available to you.

Do underline or tick, cross out, rewrite or amplify as you feel relevant, the more details and information you can provide, the easier it will be for those people who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.

Highlight, cross out or underline statements as appropriate or ideally just copy and paste the whole document into your favourite text editor

You will find advance funeral planning guides, end of life choices & wills in our funeral resouces store.

UK Visitors - Funeral Resource Store


This document is the Advance Funeral Wishes of................................................................................Dated....................................

1) I have not written a Will / I have written a Will
The location of my Will is.........................................................................................................................................................................
The Will expresses / does not express my funeral wishes
I have included / not included with the Will a copy of this document
If there is such a Will, please treat this present document as expanding on the wishes expressed in that Will, with the Will taking legal precedence if relevant
.

2) My next of kin is:
Name...................................................................................................
Address....................................................................................................................................................................................................
Telephone: Home..................................................Work...........................................................Mobile.....................................................

3) With this Will / this present document
Is also added all potentially needed information such as NHS card, birth and marriage certificates, bank account details, credit and store cards details, hire purchase agreements, mortgage and home insurance details, details of relevant council departments, local electricity, gas, water and telephone details, cable, satellite providers details, life insurance, car details, share certificate details, premium bonds, pension details, details of doctor, solicitor, accountant, stockbroker, employer, main clients.
Also my home address, my last occupation, full name and occupation of spouse and my maiden name (if a married woman). A pre-paid funeral plan, any deeds to a grave.

4) I do have / I do not have any preferences about what happens to my body after my death.
(If no preferences) I leave all entirely to the discretion of:
Name...................................................................................................
Address....................................................................................................................................................................................................
Telephone: Home..................................................Work...........................................................Mobile.....................................................

5) I do / I do not wish to donate my body / my organs
(Specify which and to whom, if relevant)
Some relevant organisations include the NHS Organ Donor Register, Tel: 0300 123 23 23 and HTA The Human Tissue Authority, Tel: 020 7211 3400

Advance Funeral Wishes - My death and my body

6) If at all possible, I wish my body to be left undisturbed after my death for.......................hours / days

7) If a death occurs at home, for instance after a long illness, and the coroner is not involved, then the nurses attending the death would normally "lay out" the body, laying out includes washing, shaving for a male, and dressing, (usually fresh night clothes) also positioning the body appropriately before rigor mortis which is the usual term used to describe the the stiffening of the body that occurs between 4 and 7 hours after death and continues for around 24 to 36 hours or so.
Be aware that when the muscles of the body relax after death, nature starts to take its natural course and the body occasionally voids itself of waste, the bowels particularly are inclinded to seep and for this reason an important part of laying out usually includes positioning an incontinence pad or something similar at the vulnerable body areas to contain any seepage. For more information on this important aspect please read our article No Last Office for the Deceased or Laying Out - Last Office for the Deceased
I would prefer / prefer not to be "laid out"
(If to be laid out) I would really prefer this to be carried out by / not carried out by / nurses / undertaker / family / named person.................................. and / or................................................................................could also assist / do this instead.

8) After my death I would like to be dressed in a shroud / my favorite clothes, which are....................................................................../ don't mind / a gown supplied by the funeral director / to remain undisturbed in the clothes that I am wearing at the time of my death / other (specify).......................................

9) I would / would not like the following jewellery to remain on my body......................................................particularly.......................................................

10) If a post-mortem after my death requires the consent of my next of kin, I would / would not like them to give it, (a coroners post-mortem examination generally does not require consent, but a hospital may ask for consent to carry out a post mortem examination if, for instance, they would like to investigate and learn more about the illness that was the cause of death).

11) If I die at home and providing that my death does not involve a coroners post-mortem, I would like my body to remain at home / to go to the premises of a funeral director / other (please specify).............................................................................................................................until the funeral.
(another option used to be "hospital" but it is highly unlikely that a hospital would take in a body from a death that has occurred at home if the coroner is not involved, however a private hospital may be willing to help you).

12) If I die in hospital I would like my body to remain in the hospital mortuary / brought home / to go to the premises of a funeral director / other place (please specify).....................................................................................................................................................................until the funeral.

13) I do / do not wish for my body to be embalmed (sea burial is not permitted for embalmed bodies, and is not within the ethos of a green funeral, also be aware that some funeral directing companies insist on embalming, which they typically call "hygienic treatment").

14) I do / do not wish my body to be viewed by, close family / distant family / close friends / distant friends / anyone / at the discretion of my next of kin / only................................................................................................................and.............................................................................................................

15) If viewed, I would like my body to be seen as natural in death / without / with cosmetics and make-up / at the discretion of my next of kin / the funeral director.

16) If viewing I would like very much to be attended to (made presentable) by my family / next of kin / only....................................................... / the funeral director / with / without the help of............................................................................................................./ the funeral director

Advance Funeral Wishes - My funeral

17) I have / do not have a pre-paid funeral plan / funeral insurance scheme (if so, please give details and make sure your next of kin are aware of the existence of the plan. Some of what follows may then not be relevant in your case).

18) The friend(s) or relative(s) I wish to be mainly responsible for arranging my funeral is / are.........................................................................................

19) I would / would not prefer for the above-named to arrange it without using a funeral director (if using a funeral director some of what follows may then not be relevant in your case).

20) If a funeral director is used, I would / would not like it to be (please specify).................................................................................../ I would like someone / name.........................................to phone around from the yellow pages for the cheapest / most suitable funeral directors quote / contact The Natural Death Centre Tel: 0871 288 2098 Email: contact@naturaldeath.org.uk to see if they have a recommendation for a helpful funeral director locally.

21) In general terms, I would like the expenditure on my funeral to be about average / below average / above average / well above average

22) I would like to be cremated / buried / deposited in a vault / catacomb / mausoleum.

23) I would like the cheapest chipboard with foil finish coffin / colour painted coffin / artist designed and painted coffin / cardboard coffin / body bag on plank and covered in a drape / coffin if possible made by friend or relative or local carpenter ( specify and details) / my coffin is already in store awaiting collection at location.........................................................................................................................../ burial shroud / burial sheet / woollen blanket / woven willow coffin / bamboo coffin / other (specify)...................................................................................................................................................

24) I would like my body to be transported to the relevant place in our / friends large estate car (Volvo is good) / van / (give further details where relevant) / I would like a large estate car / small van to be hired for the occasion / I would like a funeral director to be asked to provide a hearse / large estate car with / without following cars / I would like a horse-drawn hearse / motorbike with adapted sidecar / other transport (please specify).

25) I would ideally like................................................................................................................................................as the bearers of my coffin / the funeral director to provide bearers

26) 1 would / would not like flowers brought to my funeral / one flower per person / no flowers / donation instead to.................................................../ garden flowers only / wild flowers only / silk flowers only / other (specify)

27) After the funeral I would like all / most / some / of the flowers to be donated to the local hospital / hospice / elderly care home / other (specify) / to remain on my grave / to remain at the crematorium / to be given to all the family / and friends attending my funeral. Ideally I would like each person to receive at least one / more than one flower.

28) I would / would not like my death and funeral announced in the following publications..............................................................................................

29) I would / would not like a funeral service / committal service only.

Advance Funeral Wishes - If I am to be cremated

30) I would like my funeral service (if having one) to take place at a church / local hall / social club / my favourite pub (specify)........................................./ other venue (specify)...............................................................................before my body is taken to the crematorium (if a double service in this way, state what if anything, is to happen at the crematorium and who is to attend there, (generally this type of ceremony would just involve a short committal service at the crematorium as the funeral service will have been held elsewhere)) / I would like the funeral service to take place at the crematorium.

31) After the cremation, what I would ideally like done with my ashes is............................................................................................................................

32) (If an urn is used) the type of urn I would like most is................................................home-made by.............................................................../ wooden / marble / metal / glass / clay / standard crematorium container which will be provided by the crematorium.

Advance Funeral Wishes - If I am to be buried

33) I do / do not have a burial place reserved / in mind (details if so). Ideally I would like to be buried in a churchyard (almost impossible these days) / cemetery / green or woodland burial ground where a tree is planted instead of having a headstone / friendly farmers land / own garden or land / at sea please give added details where relevant. Note: Sea burial is difficult to arrange and is highly discouraged for environmental reasons, it can also be very expensive, however a licence may be obtained from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Tel: 08459 33 55 77

34) If own garden or land, although not legally obliged to, I have / have not cleared this with those who will inherit my estate , also / but not with other next of kin / neighbours etc.

35) If green or woodland burial ground, I would / would not like those in charge of my funeral to contact an information source such as The Natural Death Centre Tel: 0871 288 2098 to find out the nearest or most suitable site at the time of my death, I would prefer such a site to be run by a local authority / farmer / wildlife trust / doesn't really matter.

36) If allowed, I would / would not like ...............................................................................................................to help dig my grave / fill my grave

Advance Funeral Wishes - If having a funeral service

37) Amongst those I would most like invited who might otherwise be neglected are................................(provide all names, addresses and phone numbers)

38) The approximate kind of numbers I would like to attend my funeral service are between............and ...........I see it as ideally a very small family affair / family and friends / all comers / no preference.

39) I would like my funeral service to take account of the fact that my religion / spiritual belief / philosophy is..................................................................

40) I would like the service led by............................................................relative / friend / named ..........................................or duty priest / minister British Humanist officiant / other (specify).......................................................................

41) The form of service I would like is ........................................................................................................................................................................

42) The kind of music, hymns, psalms, songs, etc I would like include.......................................................................................................(be as specific as you can) played by / sung by.................................................................................................................................................................................................

43) I would / would not like live musicians to play at my funeral, ideally I would like them to be male / female / mixed / don't mind, state preference (e.g. lone piper or other soloist, string quartet, singer, brass band, jazz band)............................................................................................................I would like them / him / her to play / sing the following.......................................................................................................................................................................

44) The kind of texts / poems I would like include...............................................................................................................read by.....................................

45) If possible I would like the main address about my life to be given by......................................................or by..............................................................

46) At this service / at some later occasion (specify when) I would / would not / leave it to individual choice / like my friends to have a chance to speak up about me.

47) I would / would not like an open coffin (assuming body is relatively presentable).

48) Other rituals I would like to see at this time include.............................................................................................................................................(e.g. single flowers / flower placed in / on coffin / grave lined with fresh cut grass / hay / flowers / football scarf or other identifying symbol placed on / in coffin).

49) I would / would not like my funeral service to be recorded on DVD and sent to / anyone unable to attend on the day / particularly (include all names and addresses)...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

50) I have / have not left a last message / audiotape / video / letter / for my family and / or friends / (if yes, located at)................................................... and wish this to be played / read / at the funeral service / some other occasion (state when)..................................................................................................

Advance Funeral Wishes - Party (wake) or gathering after the funeral

51) I would / would not like a party / don't mind / gathering after the funeral.

52) (Assuming one is wanted) in general terms, I would like as much money spent on a gathering after the funeral as on the funeral itself / less money / much less money / more money / much more money / the full works - I've had a great life so break out the champagne, its on me Laughing(clearly state the location of the champagne stash) ...............................................................

53) The form I would like this gathering to take is.................................................(e.g.indoors / outdoors / location / food / drinks / etc)...................

54) The rituals I would most like to include are ..........................................................................................................................................................

Advance Funeral Wishes - Memorial service

55) I would / would not like a memorial gathering some ...........................months after the funeral.

56) The form I would like this memorial gathering to take is ....................................................................................................................................

57) The rituals I would most like to include are .........................................................................................................................................................

58) Those who may not have come to the funeral service that I would like invited to the memorial service include........................................................

59) I would like the memorial service announced in the following media.......................................................................................................................

Advance Funeral Wishes - Commemoration

60) I would / would not like a tree / flowers / (specify type of tree and flowers) planted on / near / grave / other location (specify) ........................in memory of me.

61) Memorial objects or ways of commemoration I would ideally like include an entry in the memorial book of the crematorium / funeral establishment / plaque / headstone (suggest wording of epitaph) / garden bench / window / entry in the Internets online garden of remembrance / endowment (specify details).............................................................................................................................................................................................................................

62) I would / would not like there, if possible, to be a ritual of remembrance on the anniversaries of my death. Ideally the form this could take would be ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

63) Amongst things left unsaid to particular people that I would like to say now are ........................................................................................................
..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

64) I shall find out in due course, but as a matter of interest, I do / do not believe in an afterlife, which I visualise as ......................................................

65) Other information that I would / would not / wouldn't mind being used when arranging my funeral in order to make it more personal,
My favourite colour is .......................
My main hobbies are .....................................................................................................................................
My favorite sport is .....................................................................
My favorite movie is.....................................................................
My favorite book is.......................................................................
My one dream was..........................................................................................................................................
My main regret is...........................................................................................................................................
My favorite music is ....................................................................................particularly..............................................................................
Specify others..............................................................................................................................................................................................

I would also like to include the following, which has not been mentioned above

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Any particular numbers that I have left unanswererd I leave to the discretion of my family / the person arranging the funeral.

I have given it a great deal of thought and these are my funeral wishes; I hope those people responsible for my funeral are able as far as possible to carry them out.

Signed By:

Name.........................................................
Signature...................................................
Date...........................................................


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