Part 3 addresses directions about the disposal of your body and briefly addresses the option of orbiting earth or being launched into deep space.
This blog is part of a series on the practical considerations and issues associated with writing a will. Part 1 addressed the heading, commencement and testimonium of the Will. Part 2 addressed the issue of revocation. Part 3 addresses directions concerning the disposal of your body.
The executor appointed in your Will has the duty and the right to decide matters concerning the disposal of your body. If there is no Will then normally the person with the strongest right to be the administrator (such as the surviving spouse) will have that duty. The failure to have a Will can create issues where for instance there is a dispute between a spouse or defacto and children of the deceased. Similarly, there may be two persons who have an equal right to apply to be the administrator of the estate and they may have differing views about the disposal of your body. To resolve this issue a court may need to decide how to resolve the conflict resulting in delays and exposing your estate to increased legal costs. The simple act of creating a Will can therefore potentially resolve the issue of who has the authority to act in relation to the disposal of your body.
Directions about the disposal of your body are not binding on your executor. They are however commonly made in Wills and when they are made they are generally followed. If you have firm views about your wishes for disposal of your body, you should ensure that you nominate an executor that you believe will carry out your wishes.
While your wishes about the disposal of your body may be included in your Will, this should not be the only place in which your wishes are communicated. The Will may not be retrieved by your executor until after your burial or cremation and by then it will be too late. You should ensure that your wishes are made known to your executor(s) and family.
Some of the more common directions in Wills concerning the disposal of your body include:
- that you want an inexpensive disposal of your body;
- that you wish to be cremated and a direction about the location
- where the ashes are to be deposited or scattered;
- that you wish to be buried and a specific location;
- that you want your body to be available for anatomical, therapeutic, medical or scientific purposes.
The list above is by no means exhaustive and I have received very specific instructions from numerous clients over the years rather than the more generic options summarised above.
Elysium Space offer a memorial spaceflight for your ashes allowing you to orbit the earth for a few years before returning. Celestis Memorial Spaceflights similarly provide a range of packages and pricing on their website including the Voyager Service allowing you to be launched into deep space. While I have not been instructed to include either in a Will, it may only be a question of time.
One of the advantages in writing a Will is that it allows you to consider issues that you have not yet contemplated. I see many clients that have not given any consideration to this issue because they feel they are still too young to need to consider the subject. Unfortunately, we all know that life is unpredictable and we can be taken too soon. It is important to have this conversation now and writing a Will is one way you can do that.
Rudall & Rudall Lawyers have an experienced team of lawyers in Gawler, Tanunda and Adelaide to assist you. Call us on 8523 8400 (Gawler) 8523 8444 (Tanunda) or 8211 6500 (Adelaide) to arrange an obligation free first appointment, or alternatively send an email to email@example.com and we will contact you.