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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Should You Specify Your Desired Funeral Arrangements in Your Will?

Some people have a very specific idea of how they want their funeral to be arranged. Some may be elaborate and large celebrations of life, others may be low key, intimate affairs. Regardless of the style you have settled on, you will want to make it clear to your loved ones as to how you wish to be honored when you pass. There are several ways to do this.

Specifying Your Desired Funeral Arrangements in Your Will

Your will is one place where you could specify your desired funeral arrangements. It is not against the law to do so, but it might not be the best place for this type of information. This is because the settling of the estate and probate proceedings do not generally happen prior to the funeral. This means that instructions put in your will may not come to light until after the funeral has happened. If you do put your desired funeral arrangements in your will, let your loved ones and the executor of your estate know this ahead of time so they are aware. This is still risky though because the funeral may have already happened by the time your will has been located and reviewed.

There are other ways to help ensure that your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements are known and honored. Talking to family and loved ones about your wishes is always a good idea. In addition to talking to them about your funeral wishes, let them know of any documents that refer to your desired funeral arrangements. Yes, you may choose to put them in your will, but you may also want to consider memorializing your wishes in a “final arrangements” document.

A final arrangements document is separate from your will and is established for the specific purpose of outlining your desired funeral arrangements. In the final arrangements document, you can express:

  • Whether you want a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life;
  • Whether you want a large gathering of friends and family or a more private service for closer family members;
  • Where you want to have your service;
  • Whether you want to be cremated or buried;
  • If cremated, where you want your ashes stored or scattered;
  • If buried, where;
  • Casket choice
  • Tombstone or grave marker choice

The final arrangements document should be signed and dated by you. It would also be a good idea to have some witnesses to the signing. Store the document in a safe place and one that is easy to locate. Let your loved ones know where it is stored so they can get access to it when they need to.

Quality Estate Planning

Monk Law counsels you on what should go in your estate plan and how to best express your wishes and ensure that they are honored. We draft estate plans that help protect the future you want for you and your loved ones. Contact us today.


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