A large part of estate planning is making your wishes known even when you can no longer express them on your own. Whether you prepare for the possibility of incapacitation or for your death, you want to make sure to complete certain tasks in the manner in which you desire.

You have arranged for someone to make health care and financial decisions for you if you can no longer do so in life and for someone to administer your estate in death. However, have you let your family know what you want as far as your funeral is concerned?

What information does your family need?

First, your family needs access to the information about your funeral right away, so this information should not be in your will or trust since most people do not look at these documents until afterward. In a separate document, you can express your wishes regarding the following:

  • Do you want your family to bury or cremate you?
  • If you choose cremation, what would you like done with your ashes?
  • If you choose burial, where should your family bury you?
  • Do you want a memorial service or a funeral?
  • Where should it take place?
  • Is there anyone you want specifically notified of your passing?
  • Have you set aside money for your arrangements or did you prepay for them?

Answering these questions ahead of time keeps your family from having to do so during an already difficult time. Once complete, you will need to let your family know where you put this document, so they don’t have to search for it when the time comes.

You may want to tell them

Writing this information down may not be enough. You may want to sit your family members down and discuss what you would like concerning funeral arrangements. This may be an uncomfortable and unpleasant conversation, but it needs to happen. Doing so will help avoid any confusion or argument after you are no longer with them to tell them what you want.

Creating a document and discussing your wishes ahead of time allows your family members more room to grieve when you pass away. They will not have to concern themselves with too many decisions in the immediate aftermath of your death. As you know, they will already have other work to do in settling your estate. Giving them less to think about when it comes to the disposition of your body could be your final gift to them.