It is hard to think or speak about the Coronavirus crisis without touching upon funerals and the wishes of those who might die whilst the World Health Organisation’s status is still at global pandemic level. Whether due to Covid-19 or not, families are being directly affected by the social distancing rules when it comes to paying respects to their loved ones during this trying time.
Richard Denby tries to address a recent query we have been asked in light of the current situation.
Will my funeral wishes in my will be followed if I die from Covid-19?
The short answer is – it depends.
Funeral wishes expressed in a Will or funeral plan are not actually legally binding. Normally, when you die, your executors (if you have a Will), or your legal next of kin (if you don’t have a Will), have the legal obligation to dispose of your body. The wishes you have expressed would usually be followed by your executors or next of kin.
However, legal and public health requirements override this. As part of the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the government sought to impose a requirement that all bodies of people who passed away from Covid-19 were to be cremated. This has now been amended to take into account religious requirements for burial.
Will my family and friends be able to attend my funeral?
The number of people who attend a funeral will have to be limited to comply with the requirement for social distancing. Further clarification is being sought from the Government, but it is suggested that only immediate family members should attend a funeral, with web streaming perhaps being put in place so that wider family and friends can celebrate the person’s life. This is subject to constant review by the Government, and may therefore change as the pandemic progresses.
The situation is constantly changing and the Government may bring in further guidance in due course. However, this post represents our best interpretation of HM Government’s guidance, where applicable, at the time of our writing. Both the content of the post and any guidance it is based upon will be subject to change.
Progression remains open for business with our staff working from home and able to provide advice via telephone or video calls.