Getting Started With Funeral and Burial Wishes

by | Jul 11, 2011 | Death of a Loved One, Estate Planning

“They saved on taxes and avoided probate, but after the funeral, the kids never talked again.”

Not a very successful plan then, was it? Even if you save taxes, avoid probate court and leave plenty of money for your family — what’s the point of a plan if the family ends up being broken apart? Effective estate planning is not just about financial issues. There are important non-financial issues that effective estate plans address. Funeral and burial wishes are one of those important non-monetary issues.

If you’re not sure about what your funeral and burial wishes are, here are some steps to get you started:

  1. Do you know what you want? Do you want to be cremated? Do you want a church memorial service or just a quiet, family-only graveside service?
  2. Does your family know what you want? If you know what your wishes are, then you should have conversations with your family about what those are.
  3. Where in your estate planning documents does it say what you want? A good estate plan should include your burial wishes, either in a legal document such as a “Disposition of Remains” or a letter written by you that is kept in a binder with your legal documents.
  4. Does the funeral home know your wishes? The absolute best way to plan is to talk to your funeral home about what you want. Take the stress off of your family by making those hard choices now.
Want even more information? Read our article, 10 Things to Think About With Burial Instructions.