When we die it is the person/s with the right to administer our estate (the executor nominated in our Will or the administrator of our estate if we die without a Will – intestate) who decide what happens with our bodies – unless we have made a written direction for cremation[1] which if they know about it, must be followed.

Relatives sometimes argue about how to dispose of a body.

Cultural, religious, family and other views can cause friction and upset amongst your loved ones, at what is already a very difficult time.

Every year Australian courts hear and determine disputes regarding how a person is laid to rest. Bodies can sit in funeral parlours for months before that decision is made.

You cannot bind your executor to bury your body, so be sure to choose executor/s that know and will respect your wishes.

If you have not left clear signed instructions to be cremated, a spouse, adult child or parent can object to your body being cremated and stop it from happening[2].

Even though not binding (other than the signed direction to cremate your body), writing your wishes down regarding your funeral ceremony, whether you want a civil or religious service, what you want done with your ashes (if cremated), burial wishes (and preferred place) etc. creates important evidence that a Court can rely on when resolving family disputes.

Often, having it written down prevents those disputes in the first place.

And if you have not made a will – do you know who has the first right to administer your estate pursuant to the intestacy rules?

Would that person know your wishes?

3 important lessons:

(1)        make a will and choose your executors wisely;

(2)        make your funeral wishes known to your executors during your lifetime; and

(3)        write your wishes down.

Is your will up to date?

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact us on (07) 5443 4744 or email info@pacificlaw.com.au .

[1] Section 7 Cremations Act 2003 (Qld)

[2] Section 8 Cremations Act 2003 (Qld)