News and Insights
5 June 2019
When drafting wills at Viberts, we always give our clients the option to include their funeral wishes in their wills. It is important that funeral wishes are recorded properly and that there is a clear record to guide your loved ones after death.
There are many funeral planning options available including traditional ceremonies, donations for anatomical and medical research as well as personal arrangements tailored to suit your individual taste. One modern option is to consider a green funeral.
Also known as a ‘natural’ or ‘eco’ funeral, these types of funerals are available in Jersey and some say that they should be actively encouraged in order to help protect our beautiful environment. A green funeral is often more cost effective than a traditional funeral.
As with traditional funeral wishes, we recommend that your green funeral be incorporated into your will or a letter of wishes. There is also the option of pre-arranging your green funeral with a local funeral director, leaving a copy of your funeral plan alongside your will.
So what is different with a green funeral?
- No embalming of the body
Chemicals used during the embalming process are toxic to the environment. Upon burial the chemicals such as formaldehyde, are released into the ground. Embalming is not strictly required, and you can make it clear that embalming chemicals are not to be used after your death. The use of embalming chemicals are slowly being phased out and there is change on the horizon as embalming chemicals are set to be banned by 2024.
- No cremation
A cremation is not generally considered part of a green funeral. This is because the fumes which are produced upon creation are harmful to air quality and the process uses lots of energy.
- No traditional coffins
Traditional wooden coffins and caskets take a long time to decompose and restrict the decomposition of the body itself. Wooden coffins and caskets are also often varnished and are lined with synthetic materials which do not degrade for many years.
Green coffins are available and are made from a wide range of natural materials such as seagrass and wool as well as more environmentally friendly materials such as wicker and papier-maché. Local funeral directors are able to source these items for you, and can make this part of a pre-arranged funeral plan.
At the time of writing, Jersey does not have a dedicated green burial site where plants are left to grow naturally. There are some local areas which are left ‘wild’ for ashes and burials where plant life is left to grow.
Generally, headstones and markers are not part of a green burial however there are options to mark a grave for example by planting a tree or by engraving natural stones or wooden crosses.
If you have specific wishes in relation to your funeral, Viberts recommend that you outline your wishes in your will/letter of wishes or consider a pre-planned funeral package.
If you would like to include pre-planned funeral arrangements within your will please contact our Personal law department for further information.