Funeral and Burial Wishes: Incorporating Them into Your Estate Planning

By Matthew A. Ferri, Esq. Estate planning isn’t just about distributing your assets and property after you pass away. It’s also an opportunity to ensure that your wishes are respected and carried out, even when it comes to your funeral and burial arrangements. By including your funeral and burial wishes in your estate plan, you can provide your loved ones with clear guidance during a difficult time and ensure that your final wishes are honored. Let’s delve into whyFuneral and Burial Wishes, Funerals, Burials, Cremation, Estate Planning these wishes are important and how you can incorporate them into your estate plan.

The Importance of Funeral and Burial Wishes

Your funeral and burial preferences are deeply personal. They reflect your cultural, religious, and emotional beliefs. By documenting your wishes, you can relieve your family of the burden of making decisions during their time of grief. What’s more, it’s a thoughtful way to ensure that your final journey aligns with your values and desires.

Steps to Incorporate Funeral and Burial Wishes

  1. Open Communication: The first step is to have open and honest conversations with your loved ones about your funeral and burial preferences. While it might be a difficult conversation to initiate, it’s crucial to share your thoughts, so your family understands your wishes and the reasoning behind them.
  2. Document Your Wishes: Once you’ve discussed your preferences with your family, document them clearly. You can do this by creating a separate document or including these details within your will. Be as specific as possible. Some aspects to consider include:
    • Burial vs. Cremation: State whether you prefer to be buried or cremated.
    • Funeral Service: Also specify if you want a traditional funeral service, a memorial service, or none at all.
    • Location: Indicate where you’d like the funeral or memorial service to be held.
    • Ceremonial Details: Mention any religious or cultural rituals you’d like to be included.
    • Disposition of Ashes: Not only do you need to decide between burial and cremation, but you also must, decide where you’d like your ashes to be scattered, stored, or re-purposed.
    • Donations: If you’d like, suggest charities or causes for memorial donations in your name.
    • Obituary and Eulogy: Share your thoughts on how you’d like your life to be remembered in an obituary and eulogy.
  3. Choose a Funeral Agent: Select a trusted individual to be your funeral agent. It’s the Agent’s responsibility to carry out your wishes as outlined in your estate plan. Funeral and Burial Wishes, Military Burial
  4. Review and Update: Life is ever-changing, and so are your preferences. Regularly review and update your funeral and burial wishes as needed. What feels right today might change over the years.

Discuss Your Wishes

It’s essential to discuss your funeral and burial wishes with both your loved ones and your legal and financial advisors. This way, you can ensure that your desires are feasible and legally enforceable. Moreover, involving your family in the process fosters understanding and reduces the chances of misunderstandings during an already emotional time.

Incorporating your funeral and burial wishes into your estate plan is a considerate and compassionate way to guide your loved ones after you’re gone. By taking the time to outline your preferences, you can provide comfort and clarity to your family during a difficult period and leave a lasting legacy that reflects your values and beliefs. To learn more, contact our office to schedule a complimentary initial consultation, 248-409-0256.

About the Author

Matthew A. FerriJ.D., M.B.A., is the Founder and Principal of Life Focus Planning, a Michigan based estate planning law firm.  He is an estate planning attorney with offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Shelby Township, Michigan. His expertise includes advanced estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, Veterans benefits, special needs planning, and business planning. During law school, Matt focused his studies on business law while simultaneously earning his MBA.  Matt started his own firm with the goal of helping individuals and their families develop estate plans that work. He received the rating of AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell: The highest peer rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of his peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence for his legal knowledge.