Cremation or burial? Put your choice in your Will.

When considering their funeral wishes most people decide between cremation or burial. By making a will you can ensure your personal views are known. The Catholic Church brought issues around this choice to the forefront this week in a press conference held on October 25th, where new guidance was presented regarding the burial of the dead and conservation of the ashes in the case of cremation.

The Vatican Press Office stated, “The Church earnestly recommends that the pious custom of burying the bodies of the deceased be observed.”  It went on to say that Catholics are forbidden from keeping the ashes of cremated loved ones at home, scattering them, dividing them between family members or turning them into mementos.  Instead, ashes must be stored in a sacred place, such as a cemetery.

There has been a general increase in cremation since it was first permitted by the Catholic Church in 1963 and the latest instructions are in response to the rise in popularity of people keep the ashes of loved ones in urns on display, scattering them in gardens of remembrance or favourite spots, or even mixing them with clay, concrete or paint to create works of art, incorporating them into building projects, fireworks or jewellery.
The cremation rate in the United Kingdom generally has increased steadily over the last few decades. Out of 1,546 adults surveyed online by YouGov, 58% said they would prefer cremation, in comparison with only 17% who would opt for burial; and of those in favour of cremation, 79% wanted their ashes to be scattered and 7% wanted them to be kept.
Cremation rates vary widely across the world, with some countries like Japan having a rate over 95% while other countries like Italy having less than 10%.

The YouGov research also investigated attitudes towards what mourners should wear at a funeral. Wearing black was seen as a requirement by 22% of people, but 45% said wearing other colours was acceptable, as long as they were “dark and sombre”. Another 29% thought it was acceptable to wear any colour clothing to a funeral.

Whatever your preferences for your own arrangements, it is important that those organising your funeral are aware of your wishes. The most obvious place to record your decision is in your will. This is just one of the reasons having an up to date will in place is so important.

To make your new will, or review or amend one you already have, contact our specialist team today.

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