Survey reveals current attitudes towards death and funerals

Published 27 Jun 2013

A survey by an Australian charity collective has provided an interesting glimpse into our attitudes about death and funerals.

Include a Charity, a group of 130 charities, this month released the results of its ‘Your Final Wishes’ online survey.

A very modern question was put to respondents: what would you like to happen to your Facebook page when you die?

Thirty-eight per cent said they would like their profile to be deactivated; 24 per cent indicated that they would prefer it be turned into a memorial.

Nearly half (48 per cent) said they would request an environmentally-friendly coffin, while 43 per cent would do without altogether, opting instead for an informal remembrance ceremony.

In fact, the latter was the preferred service, followed by a more traditional church service (33 per cent) and a civil service (20 per cent).

Some of the most popular songs to be played at funerals included “Amazing Grace”, “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley, “Time of Your Life” by Green Day, and “Imagine” by John Lennon.

As for songs that people would not want playing at their funeral, these included, funnily enough, “Amazing Grace”, but also “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”.

The survey revealed that 47 per cent of respondents didn’t have a Will, and of those that did, 78 per cent had discussed its contents with their friends and family.

Just over half (51 per cent) said that they wished to plan their own funeral service, yet only seven per cent admitted to actually having thought about it and organised it.

“Death and funerals are not commonly discussed among friends, or even family in Australia,” said Marcus Blease of Include a Charity in a media release.

“However, if people think about it, they often have very specific and personal requests for their own funerals, and it’s important to communicate these to loved ones.”

In the case of Wills, there can be very specific and far reaching consequences for the loved ones of people who die without having drawn one up.

If a loved one dies without a Will, their assets will be distributed according to a set of rules that apply to all cases of intestacy.

That means that their Estate may end up being divided up amongst their surviving loved ones in a way that may go against their wishes, or which doesn’t satisfy everyone.

Even if they have written a Will, Inheritance Disputes can sometimes arise, which can be particularly stressful at an emotionally charged time.

For advice about Contesting Wills and what you can do when you are unhappy about the distribution of a loved one’s Estate after their death, get in touch with specialist Contesting Wills lawyers.

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