Funerals are traditionally seen as a day of sorrow; guests wear black, mourners weep and it’s a time to say goodbye. More recently, this seems to be changing. As the social media craze increases, more people are attempting to be the ‘best’ at everything; from fashion to holidays and now even funerals.
Most draft their will with the mind-set that they are leaving their estate to whomever they choose, however, individuals are now feeling the importance of ensuring their elaborate wishes are carried out at their funerals.
It is interesting that people are choosing to ‘splash out’ when making such wishes. The telegraph has reported a crypt beneath the catholic St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York will set you back an astonishing £5.7 million or you can choose to have your remains flown into space to orbit the Sun for eternity. Some are even choosing to help the environment by being buried in biodegradable caskets and burial suits made from mushrooms.
The options don’t stop there; you can have your ashes turned into a GIA-certified diamond or have your urn made out of Carrara-marble. It would seem some leave no expenses spared.
‘Funeral planning’ has become a real profession. Elizabeth Meyer, a well-known funeral planner in New York, top-tier services start from £20,000.
However, despite Karl Lagerfield, a famous designer’s hate for funerals, a lavish memorial was held of which it is believed he would have not approved of. This raises the questions as to whether the funeral arrangements are the wishes of the deceased or in fact those of the mourners.
What is clear is that society is evolving and individuals are stepping out the box of what is considered ‘traditional’. As long as it is legal, numerous funeral directors are happy to give you your dream funeral day.
Issues can arise when the wishes of a deceased are revealed to their family. Ultimately, once you die, your body is not legal property and the executors have the final say. Any funeral wishes written within your will are not legally binding. It is therefore vital that your wishes are discussed with those around you, in order for them to truly understand what it is you want, even if that is a lavish funeral. There is a risk that if you have more than one executor, they may have differing views which could lead to an executor’s dispute, this not only puts strain on a grieving family but is costly too. This highlights how important it is to choose the right executors.
Death is hard to talk about. Funerals can be even harder to discuss. For the dying or deceased, and their survivors, a service that is meaningful and memorable, celebratory and reverent takes some serious planning. Not to mention knowing the right people.