It seems that more people these days would like their funeral to be a celebration of their life than a gloomy affair. Many of them have specific ideas on how they would like to achieve it.
Just like any other event, funerals can be personalised and many are choosing to do this by moving away from traditional religious choices.
A report on funeral trends from 2015 found that 37% of people would like to personalise their funeral, with half wanting their favourite song to be played. 16% wanted there to be a themed aspect and a quarter wanted their guests to wear bright colours.
In another study, half of funeral directors have been asked to arrange funerals away from the traditional religious venue. The most popular settings have been the deceased’s home or garden, a sports venue or deceased’s place of work.
Half have also been asked to arrange funerals where people have worn something significant to the deceased – from football scarves to fancy dress. There have been funerals with witches, Darth Vadar and superheroes.
According to a study from 2016, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” was the top song to be played at a funeral, with “Time to Say Goodbye” (Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman) and “Over the Rainbow” (Eva Cassidy) in second and third places.
As trends change, that list will change too. In another study, 5% of adults said they’d like the Game of Thrones’ theme song played at their funeral and Liverpool FC’s “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is top of the sports wish list chart.
You can personalise anything: the hearses, flowers, coffin, location and memorial. At one funeral, the deceased was a huge fan of Only Fools and Horses and so the hearse was replaced with Del Boy’s Reliant Robin.
If you have specific wishes, you need to make them known. Ideally discuss it with your family. Not everyone is comfortable talking about these things though, so you can use a form such as myfuneralwishes on www.dyingmatters.org to document what you want.
As well as having a Will that explains what you want to happen to your estate when you die, it can be helpful to keep a copy of these wishes with it too. However, this should not be the only copy. By the time your Will is located and read, your funeral may already be planned or have taken place.
Your instructions can be very precise or vague. For example – “I want to be cremated and I want people to wear bright colours”. Or it could be that you want a particular song. Whatever it is, write it down and make sure you’ve told your closest where to find it.
It will be a source of comfort to them knowing that what they are arranging is what you wanted.
For help with any aspect of preparing a Will, please call Pembroke will writers on 01634 353 658.