The very sad story of Pamela Hamilton’s death and the harrowing situation that followed highlights the case that taking some time to discuss your wishes with your nearest and dearest and then making them crystal clear within or alongside your Will can save a lot of heartache when the inevitable happens.
Pamela had appointed two Executors, one in her original home town of Bristol and another in London where she had lived for the past 25 years. Each executor had a different belief of where Pamela wanted to be buried. This resulted in the unbelievable situation of a near year long stalemate in which neither side appeared to want to back down.
Pamela was finally laid to rest in Bristol on her mother’s 80th birthday and the funeral that should have happened in 2011 could finally go ahead.
Although an extreme example Pamela’s story does show how important a well thought out and professionally produced Will is and how it can help those left behind clearly understand your wishes.
At Farsight Wills we give every client the option, at no extra charge, to have a Memorandum of Wishes produced. This is a document that can sit alongside the Will and provides guidance for your Executors and / or Guardians. A Memorandum of Wishes can for example be very helpful for parents in stating how they would like their children to be brought up. It can specify anything from type of education and religion to the sports and hobbies you would like them to be involved in.
A Memorandum of Wishes is also a useful aid in spelling out your funeral plans and the arrangements that you wish to make. A little time spent considering the finer points of your funeral can save a lot of soul searching and often expense for the family left behind. If you only wanted a basic cost effective funeral would your family know that was the case?
We have dealt with memorandums that specified such things as the funeral flowers, charity donations, location for ashes to be scattered, music and readings. Even the clothes some people want to be buried in and arrangements for the wake.
A Memorandum of Wishes is not a legal document, to make requests legally binding they should be within the Will, but by talking these things through and providing written guidance for your carefully chosen Executors a Memorandum of Wishes really does make a sensible addition to your Last Will and Testament.