New York Estate Planning & Funeral Planning

funeral arrangementsEven though your funeral plans and burial plans are not a vital part of your will and trust, planning for them are two important components of estate planning for both you and your family. Not only do you want your family to know your specific funeral wishes, you also want to make certain that you have set aside funds to cover funeral expenses. Below, we’ve answered a few common questions about estate planning and funeral planning.

How should I let my loved ones know my burial and funeral wishes?

It’s a misconception that your funeral preferences should only be listed in your will and trust. Instead, they should appear in a separate detailed document that you leave in a safe place for your loved ones or executor. While you may think that simply leaving verbal instructions with your spouse or children is enough, we recommend leaving a written and detailed document, especially if you have specific requests, wants, and needs.

What information should I include in my funeral plan?

The preferences and information you leave in your funeral plan depends upon what is important to you regarding your funeral, memorial service, and burial. Information that many people outline in their funeral planning document includes:

  •      What kind of ceremony you prefer (specific readings or songs).
  •      Where you should be memorialized and buried.
  •      How you would like your body prepared.
  •      Who you would like to speak or participate in the service.
  •      What you would like to wear or be buried with.
  •      Where you would like loved ones to send memorial donations.
  •      How you would like to pay for the costs of the funeral.

How can I set aside money for funeral costs?

There are several different ways you can make certain that your family and loved ones have access to money for your memorial service, burial plans, and other funeral costs. Your estate planners can assist you with setting up a life insurance policy made payable to an irrevocable trust to avoid estate taxes on the proceeds, or with a separate bank account dedicated to paying for your funeral costs. Some simply make certain to leave enough liquid assets behind that they know the costs can easily be covered. Some designate that certain assets are sold for funeral costs.

Many experts warn against prepaid funeral planning and funeral payment plans. It can be difficult to withdraw or transport your payments if you move geographical locations or change your mind about your plans. In addition, you may lose your money if the funeral home you pay goes out of business.

What happens if I don’t leave instructions regarding my funeral and burial?

If you don’t specify your preferences, your next of kin will organize your funeral and burial — usually your spouse, children, or parents. If you do not have surviving relatives, a public administrator will handle the plans. However, be aware that your family will be grieving and overwhelmed at the time of your death, and they may have difficulty making decisions about your funeral, memorial service, wake, and burial. In addition, if you have multiple surviving children, disagreements may arise regarding your funeral that could have been avoided if you had left a letter or document behind.

New York Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys

It can be emotionally and logistically difficult to plan your estate and the details of your funeral and burial. At the Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin, we can help you through every step of the process and ensure that your finances are secure and your wishes are met. To learn more about our estate planning and elder law services, please call (516) 605-0625 or fill out our online contact form.

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