What to do when i die? Is an important question to ask. Although it may be one of the more difficult aspects of estate planning, making funeral, burial and memorial arrangements can be an important part of creating an estate plan. Most likely, your family will thank you for thinking ahead. Funeral and burial planning can reduce some of the stress your loved ones experience after you pass away. It also can bring you peace of mind knowing that you have plans in place to reduce confusion and possible conflict among family members.
Final arrangements addressed in estate plans can range from basic to comprehensive. While each individual’s plans may be different, some common provisions include:
- Whether you want to be cremated or buried
- If you would like to be an organ donor
- Where you would like to be cremated or buried
- If you want a ceremony or funeral and what you would like included
- Who you would like to serve as pallbearers
- The type of marker, such as a tombstone, you would like
- The type of container in which you would like to be cremated or buried
- How to pay the funeral and cremation or burial expenses
Your desired funeral, burial and memorial wishes should be recorded in a written document. A healthcare directive is a staple of well-crafted estate plans, and it can be used to provide instructions on organ donation, cremation or burial, and any other funeral wishes. In addition, your funeral plans may be memorialized in a letter of instruction kept with a trusted family member or attorney.
Any financial arrangements or funds designated for funeral, burial and memorial expenses should be indicated in your funeral plans. Money also can be set aside for maintenance and care of your interment or burial site, usually in a cemetery trust.
A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can assist you with funeral and memorial planning as well as other aspects of your estate plan.