Why you should include your funeral and memorial wishes in your estate plan

| Jan 13, 2021 | Estate Planning |

A comprehensive estate plan is about more than detailing who will receive your assets after you’re gone and who will be in charge of your health care and finances if you become incapacitated. You can make things easier for your family if you designate the final disposition of your remains after you pass away and what kind of memorial services (if any) you’d like.

You can also set aside money to pay for all of this (particularly if you’d like a big wake) so that your family doesn’t have to rely on their credit cards or start a GoFundMe page to fulfill your wishes. Just make sure it’s in an account that’s accessible before your estate is settled. You can also prepay a funeral home or crematorium.

Make sure the information is accessible

All of this information can and should be included in your estate plan. However, make sure that you have a copy of your final arrangements documents somewhere that’s easily accessible by close family members (or that at least one of them has access to your estate plan).

Let someone know about your wishes and where to find the details. Many families don’t look at a loved one’s estate plan until after they’ve been laid to rest.

What information should you include?

Among the things it’s good to specify include the following:

  • Do you want to be buried or cremated? (If you’ve purchased a plot, include the documentation).
  • Do you want a funeral or some other type of service or wake?
  • Where would you like the funeral or memorial to take place?
  • Whom do you want notified of your death and/or invited to your memorial?
  • Have you made arrangements with a funeral home, and are they prepaid?
  • If you’re being cremated, where do you want your ashes kept or scattered?

The more information you leave for your family, the less work they’ll have to do at a difficult time. You can also help prevent bickering among family members who may all think they know what you would have wanted.

Funeral homes typically have planning guides that can help you. There are even websites dedicated to funeral planning. Your estate planning attorney can help you codify everything related to your final farewell and answer any legal questions related to it.