Including Funeral and Burial Wishes in Your Estate Plan

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Including Funeral and Burial Wishes in Your Estate Plan

Red roses and white gypsophila in a funeral wreath

Some people have strong wishes about their funeral, burial, and other end-of-life questions. Rather than hoping your family members will remember your wishes years later, you can write these wishes directly into your estate plan.

Which Documents You Need

The documents in which people express funeral, burial, and related wishes include a will and an advance health care directive. A will is a legally binding document that lists who will inherit your estate and what they will inherit. In addition, you can allocate some of the money in your estate for funeral expenses and particular wishes to be carried out after death.

However, there is one problem with putting all your wishes in your will: there is a possibility that your family members may not find it until after they make funeral arrangements. Make sure you either write down your wishes somewhere else in addition to your will, also tell relatives about your wishes in addition to the will, or make very clear where your will is kept.

An advance health care directive in California combines two documents: a durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will. The power of attorney aspect allows an agent to make medical decisions for you when you are not able to do so. The living will aspect specifies your wishes about receiving or not receiving particular health care treatments. As described below, you can make post-death wishes known in an advance health care directive too.

Which Wishes to Express

In a will, you can allocate money to be spent on burial expenses and express wishes such as funeral type and burial plot location. You can specify whether you want a religious funeral service and whether you want to be cremated. Your will is customizable to include the information about your wishes that you want to include.

In an advance healthcare directive, you can give directions about donation of organs and tissue, or anatomical gifts. You can authorize your agent to permit an autopsy of your body or direct disposition of your remains. Again, there is some leeway to customize the directive to include your wishes.

Ultimately, making an estate plan is about peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out, both during life and after your death. Funeral, burial, and related end-of-life wishes are extremely important to some people. If you are one of those people, you need to create an appropriate estate plan to make sure you have a choice in the matter.

Planning your estate? Angela Klenk, Esq. and the team at Beach Cities Estate Law couple personalized attention to your estate plan with big law firm experience for a winning combination to give you peace of mind. To schedule a case evaluation, visit Beach Cities Estate Law online or call Angela’s office at (424) 400-2125.

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