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Funeral Planning Within Your Estate Plan

Don't Leave Funeral Planning and Final Arrangements to Grieving Family After Your Death

Many people find it difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging to contemplate their deaths and the deaths of their spouses or close family members. Despite the discomfort in contemplating our own mortalities, it is prudent to plan your funeral arrangements to ensure you have the preparations and services you desire. You do not want your loved ones or spouse to have to make such preparations while they are grieving and in shock over your loss. The process can be even more upsetting, overwhelming, and difficult during that emotionally-charged time in the grieving process.

Make Provisions for Funeral Planning Within Your Estate Plan

To avoid these undesirable consequences, it is prudent to include funeral planning within your estate plan. A trusts and estates attorney can assist you with this process, or at least review what you may have prepared on your own or previously. The planning can be as simplistic or detailed as you desire. The important thing is to just begin the process and to have something in place. The old adage of something being better than nothing definitely applies.

What Can Be Done in Terms of Funeral Planning?

A party can accomplish several tasks in funeral planning within their estate plan. There are no set requirements for what is to be included in funeral planning within or apart from an estate plan (although, state and local laws must, of course, be obeyed). For example, you can make decisions about these types of funeral preparations and arrangements:

  • whether you want to be cremated
  • place of burial
  • choosing to donate your body to science
  • organ donation
  • preferences about funeral or burial service
  • who you would want to invite to your funeral or burial service
  • whether you would like for your services to be open to the public or restricted to a private setting
  • preferences about special readings, Bible passages, solos, speakers, family speakers, or the like
  • selection a charity for donation requests in lieu of flowers, if you prefer
  • the type of marker or tombstone you would like to have

How Do You Include Funeral Planning Within an Estate Plan?

It is best not to include funeral planning within your will document. This is because your will is not read until after you die—often days, if not weeks, later. You can send your funeral planning wishes to your executor, however, and make sure that your attorney and any close family members or loved ones have funeral planning information and documents. It is also prudent to discuss your funeral planning desires with your trusts and estates attorney to ensure that you accomplish your aims and prepare comprehensively. Be sure to inform your loved ones and family members that you have made funeral plans and arrangements, so that they are aware.