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View Full Version : How Binding are Requests in Wills?



Tedium
10-01-2014, 11:35 AM
Let's say that a person wants people to do something wacky when they die, like say, have everyone wear rainbow-colored cat ears to their funeral. Not sure if that is a good example, but I hope it gets the point across. Obviously, I'm excluding anything illegal here. Basically anything silly, weird, or eccentric. How binding would that request be? Would the people mentioned in the will have to do what was written?

cornflake
10-01-2014, 11:51 AM
Let's say that a person wants people to do something wacky when they die, like say, have everyone wear rainbow-colored cat ears to their funeral. Not sure if that is a good example, but I hope it gets the point across. Obviously, I'm excluding anything illegal here. Basically anything silly, weird, or eccentric. How binding would that request be? Would the people mentioned in the will have to do what was written?

Not at all.

Something that would put a contingency on an inheritance is a different issue, depending, but just an expressed desire carries no weight besides what the people involved feel like giving it.

Tedium
10-01-2014, 12:14 PM
Not at all.

Something that would put a contingency on an inheritance is a different issue, depending, but just an expressed desire carries no weight besides what the people involved feel like giving it.

Yeah, that makes sense.

I was thinking about the craziness of Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, how his ashes were shot out of a cannon, ect. After reading your post, it makes sense that if no one had volunteered to pay for the tower and cannon it would not have happened. Requests are only requests.

I think I was mixing up inheritance stipulations and, say, a request that no one wear black at the funeral. None of the silliness in my story has to do with an inheritance, so I guess that answers my question. Thanks for setting me straight.

Bolero
10-01-2014, 01:24 PM
I think such requests being in writing is a good idea though. There can be very complicated funerals, with competing factions of the way it should be done. At the end of the day, the executor, who has the money to pay for the funeral, is the deciding voice, but there can be a lot of shouting.
If set in UK, there are also limitations imposed by venues - churches can be very strict as to say what music is played - classical is usually OK - though I suspect the Carmina Burana would be out. Other sorts of music is a bit case by case. Crematoria are usually more relaxed and obviously non-denominational.

jclarkdawe
10-01-2014, 03:29 PM
Frequently wills are not read until after the funeral. They can be, but the person would do better to arrange as much of this as possible prior to death. A clause like this would be written something like this:

At my funeral I request and direct all mourners to wear rainbow colored ears, and for those mourner who follow this directive, they shall receive a bequest of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). For all mourners who fail to wear said rainbow colored ears, I direct and demand that my executor donate the sum of one thousand dollars ($1,000) to the National Rainbow Colored Ear Society.

That clause would be binding. It's up to the individual what he does, but if he doesn't wear the ears, the money goes somewhere else.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe