While organizing your own funeral might not exactly be a task you take on with great enthusiasm, it is something you can do to help remove some of the burden from your loved ones in the immediate aftermath of your eventual passing. Your loved ones will already have plenty of other decisions to make and responsibilities to follow through on, so making all of your funeral and burial-related decisions in advance can benefit you in that you make sure your wishes are accounted for while also benefiting your loved ones by removing an extra stressor.
Here are just a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind when including your funeral wishes in an estate plan.
- Costs: You should keep in mind how much your desired arrangements will cost, because those costs will have to come out of your estate. This includes everything from the cost of renting a facility for your funeral or memorial to costs of burial, cremation, flowers, obituaries and transportation. Funeral services will be able to give you a good idea of what their services cost and what costs you need to take into consideration.
- Remains: What do you wish to have done with your remains? This is the most difficult subject to broach for many people, because it can be unpleasant to think about what happens to your body after death. But at some point, someone has to make the decision of what will be done with your body, so it may as well be you. By far the most common options are standard burial or cremation, but you may also donate your body to scientific research facilities under some conditions. You may wish to have your body cremated and the remains placed in a burial site near other family members, or have your ashes spread in a location that’s special to you. Whatever you wish, make sure you outline those wishes in writing.
- Memorial service: What type of memorial service do you want to have? You might select a wake, in which family members and friends gather and share memories. You may select a visitation, in which your body or ashes are displayed for family and friends to come and say goodbye. You might have an official funeral or ceremony, which might include religious services or music. You may even wish to have some combination of all of the above. There are no rules—whatever kind of service you want to have is your choice.
- Who will be responsible: You should also consider who you want to have in charge of your funeral arrangements. This may or may not be the same person you name to be your estate executor. It should be someone you trust to manage all the aspects associated with carrying out the funeral according to your wishes and paying all of the costs of the funeral from your estate.
For more information about what you should consider when planning your funeral, contact an experienced elder law attorney at Baker Law Group, P.C.