24/03/2016

On 10 January 2016 David Bowie’s death shocked the world, with the Starman singer telling a handful of people about his illness.

True to his “Rebel Rebel” nature, the icon continued to surprise the world following his death by not having a funeral. Bowie reportedly told his loved ones he wanted to “go without a fuss” and not have a funeral service or public memorial. Much was made by the media of his decision.

It is believed the singer had a direct cremation. This is where the body is taken straight from the place of death to the crematorium with no service of any kind.

Was Bowie’s decision really that controversial?_

On 10 March Author Anita Brookner, author of the 1984 Booker Prize –winning novel Hotel du Lac, died. A notice of her death in The Times read “At Anita’s request there will be no funeral”.

In a recent BBC magazine article “Who chooses not to have a funeral?” Catherine Powell, customer experience director at Pure Cremation, estimates that 2,000 people a year in England and Wales are now making the decision not to have a funeral.

So, why would you choose not to have a funeral?_

One reason might be a financial one. According to research by Bath University’s Institute for Policy Research, a direct cremation, including transportation and coffin, costs just over £1,000 whereas an average funeral costs £3,600.

However, Powell indicates in the article that the most common reason is to enable a more “celebratory” event, such as a summer beach party or function at a golf club, to take place weeks or months later.

In Pure Cremation’s blog “Bowie’s Unexpected Legacy” they comment “Through the publicity surrounding his funeral David Bowie is yet again shining a light onto a subject people find difficult while encouraging us to embrace the possibilities. He has empowered fans and the wider public to think about funerals in a completely new way and to pluck up the courage to ask “what do I really want for my own farewell?””

What do you want? I know that I have found it particularly thought provoking.

The way in which you are laid to rest is very personal. You may wish to be cremated, buried, or even have a direct cremation. However, there are often many conflicting views as to how this should be done. Whatever your farewell wish, it is important that this is expressed to family and friends. A will gives you the opportunity to document your preferred arrangements and give everyone piece of mind. It is also important to keep your will up to date and review it regularly to ensure it reflects your current wishes.

If you would like any further advice on this issue or any aspect of wills and estate planning, please contact Sarah Mellor at sarah.mellor@beswicks.com or 01782 205000.