“But mum wanted a public funeral.” – “She absolutely didn’t!” Which case won?
Woman appoints two daughters as co-executors of estate
A 93-year-old mother of five died on 2 December 2020.
When her husband died in 2011, his public funeral was conducted by White Lady Funerals. There was some disagreement amongst the children about the organisation of the funeral.
In a will dated 29 September 2004, the mother had appointed her daughters, J and K, as joint executors of her estate.
It was their duty as executors to arrange a funeral and a burial or cremation of their mother’s body, in conformity with the deceased’s wishes if possible.
Disagreement between sisters over funeral arrangements
Although J and K agreed that their mother wished to be cremated and did not want anything “showy”, they disagreed about what ceremonial events should accompany her cremation.
The sisters argued over this point for three weeks while their mother’s body lay in the mortuary.
However, they both wanted their mother’s body cremated by Christmas.
Supreme Court asked to intervene to resolve dispute
So, on 18 December 2020, J applied to the Supreme Court for an order authorising her to engage White Lady Funerals to conduct a public funeral and cremation.
K countered that their mother had not wanted a public funeral. K instead wanted to organise a straightforward cremation without any ceremony, followed by placing her mother’s ashes in a niche with the husband’s ashes.