Making plans for after you die

Some people feel comforted to know that they have made plans for what should happen after they die.

Making plans for after you die might include making a will, planning a funeral, or making sure your family and pets are looked after.

Making your will

Making a will means that you decide what happens to your money, property and belongings when you die. Making a will can be difficult and upsetting. But it is a good idea to do this early on, so that it’s one less thing to worry about. It can help you feel more in control knowing that these things are organised.

It can also mean your loved ones don’t have to make difficult decisions, or deal with financial matters such as inheritance tax.

You can make a will yourself, but it is a good idea to get advice from a solicitor. They can make sure your will is valid, although they will charge for this. The law is slightly different depending on where you live in the UK. You can find information about making your will and details of solicitors from:

Citizens Advice also has more information on making a will.

How can we help?

We can help you make a will by putting you in touch with the National Free Wills Network. They can find a local solicitor to help you with your will, free of charge. You don’t need to leave money to us or give us any details about your will if you use this service.

Find out more about our free will writing service

Planning your funeral

Thinking about what you would like for your own funeral can be difficult. But letting your loved ones know what you want can take the pressure off them, and give them peace of mind.

You may want to talk to those close to you about your wishes, or you may find it easier to write them down. Writing them down can make it easier for your loved ones to know exactly what you want. Dying Matters have a leaflet, My Funeral Wishes, where you can record your wishes and instructions.

You can plan as much detail about your funeral as you wish. Some things to think about might be:

  • Do you want the ceremony to be religious or non-religious?
  • Where do you want your funeral to take place?
  • Would you like to be buried or cremated? You can also think about who you would like to carry your coffin, or where you would like your ashes to be scattered.
  • Are there any readings you would like, or certain music played?
  • Who should be invited?
  • Would you like flowers and gifts sent to your family?
  • Do you want to choose a charity for donations to be sent to in your memory?

You may also want to think about the cost of your funeral. There are different options, such as using a pre-paid funeral plan, an insurance plan or using money from any savings. If you or your family need help paying for the funeral, the government has a Funeral Expenses Payment. Marie Curie have more information about planning funeral costs.

More information and support

Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie have information on some of the things you might want to think about when writing a will or planning your funeral. We also have information for family members on what happens when someone close to you dies, including information on organising a funeral.

Read our information for family members

Other things to consider

There are other things to think about before you die. You may want to think about the items or memories you leave behind. You might want to collect special photos, or leave videos or letters for your loved ones.

If you have online accounts for social media, emails or banking, you will want to make sure someone you trust has the information for these. You may want these accounts to be deleted, or think about anything you wouldn’t want your loved ones to access. For some accounts, you can assign a person to take over the account after you die. Cruse Bereavement Care have more information about social media accounts when someone dies.

If you live alone and have a pet, it can help to think early on about who would look after them if you become too ill or after you die. There are organisations that can provide support in looking after your pet, such as The Cinnamon Trust. You can also find support in rehoming your pet from Blue Cross ‘Pets Into Care Scheme’.

Published April 2021

Review date April 2024