Should funeral and burial wishes be binding?

19 January 2017

Should funeral and burial wishes be binding? This is the question the Law Reform Commission considered when they sought submissions from the public and professionals who work in this area.

After conducting a preliminary investigation, the Commission determined that a review of the law on funeral and burial instructions would be of significant benefit to the community.

Special Counsel at Rigby Cooke Lawyers, Rachael Grabovic, was asked to contribute her thoughts, as an experienced and esteemed Wills and Estates specialist. Rachael advised the commission that it is beneficial to have a law that allows a person to make binding disposal of body instructions, however the ability to include a mere wish in a Will as opposed to a binding direction should not be removed.

In Victoria there is no legal obligation to adhere to a person’s instructions with regard to the final disposal of their body when they die. This has resulted in numerous disputes about the burial or storing/distributing of ashes of a deceased person, with family fighting for control.

In the final report, the Law Reform Commission endorsed 25 recommendations in favour of establishing an Act that would enable people to leave legally binding funeral and burial instructions or appoint an agent to control their funeral and burial arrangements after they die, or both.

Read the full Law Reform Commission report.

If you would like advice on how to clearly include your wishes in your Will, contact a member of our Wills & Estates team

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