An LGBTQ+ guide to funerals
What is the purpose of an LGBTQ+ guide for funerals?
The reality is, the funeral industry, like many other traditional industries may not always be entirely LGBTQ+ friendly – but you don’t HAVE to use a certain funeral director and you don’t HAVE to use your nearest funeral director.
You can also come and meet the funeral director before you even need their services to gauge if they are right for you. Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable with the people who will be looking after both you but also your friends and family when you pass away. They need to be understanding and compassionate, and ensure that they are equipped to meet your funeral wishes.
We’ve put together some information to help you plan ahead, which was informed by Ash Hayhurst’s 2019 guide ‘Making informed choices when planning a funeral: A guide for queer people’. To download your copy, please click the button below.
Creating funeral wishes
Many people do not have a plan for their own funeral, but creating a memorandum of wish or funeral wishes document can save family and friends a lot of time and stress when the information is needed.
By filling in a simple document, everyone will be able to consider what kind of service they would like, if any, if they would like to be cremated, buried, aquamated, natural burial, clothing they would like to be put, venue, music and many other personal touches.
This also can help relieve a bit of worry about what your friends or family will do when you pass, and if you choose to do so, it will make it easier to determine the investment required if someone chooses to take out a prepaid funeral plan. This reduces unnecessary expenditure and allows people to shop around for the best service, prices and not pay anymore than is required.
What can I put in my funeral wishes?
Next of kin: this can be anyone, it doesn’t need to be a family member and can be a friend or partner. We recommend naming at least two trusted individuals if possible including contact details.
Preferred names: Note down if there is any discrepancy between any ID documents and preferred names so that notifications, coffin plates and memorials can be aligned with how you identified yourself or were known.
Location preference for service/scattering/burial: If you have a particular crematorium of cemetery, then noting this down alongside any plot details if you have already purchased a grave, will help those arranging the funeral at the time
Music/Tributes: If you have specific music choices, you can note them down here alongside any visual tributes such as pictures, slide shows, videos etc.
Casket: Some people wish to have a personalised casket, whether this is ordered a bespoke coffin, finding an eco-friendly wicker coffin or shroud, or purchasing a cardboard coffin to be decorated by family and friends or even yourself.
Clothing/makeup/hair: Regardless of if your family and/or friends may wish to visit you when you’ve passed, if you have any preference on clothing, makeup hair or any other personal touch to make you look how you would like, these can be noted in the funeral wishes.
Some people wish to be laid to rest with their prosthetics or certain bindings, however, for cremations or natural burials, there are limitations on the types of materials that can be used.
For example rubber and some plastics, cannot be put into a cremator – in these cases we can help create alternatives using natural materials such as biodegradable replacements for breast prosthetics.
If you’re unsure or need help understanding if something can or cannot be put into a casket, then please ask your funeral director and they can always check with the crematorium or burial site.
What else should I consider?
Power of attorney
Giving a person title of next of kin does not give them legal rights, so giving them lasting power of attorney adds an extra layer of protection and applications can be made online. For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a will, there are services online that will help you do this, or you can contact a solicitors who provide charity wills, whereby you donate between £20 – £50 to their chosen charity and they will take care of your will.
You can find many solicitors who have a charitable option for creating a will: www.willslegalservices.co.uk/charity-wills
Being savvy about funeral plans
Funeral plans are a hot topic right now and as of 29th July 2022, all funeral plans sold must be provided through a FCA regulated company. This means all funeral plans sold must be placed in a trust, the money must be protected and companies will be limited on the value of the charges they can put in place, offering better value to customers.
Everyone is able to see the application status for funeral plan providers on the FCA website, and any providers who are not intending to abide by the FCA regulations, will have to cease trading on 29th July 2022.
Any existing plan holders who are unsure can get in touch with their provider directly and should ask:
– Is the plan provider applying to become FCA regulated?
– If not, are they transferring plans to another company?
– Is the full value being transferred/are there any charges?