How to Plan a Funeral: A Loved One’s Checklist

Understanding Attorneys Helping Families Plan Funerals in Long Island, NY

Tombstone in a GraveyardNo one expects to plan a funeral for a loved one, but when the time comes, they are often unprepared for what tasks they must complete. Often, loved ones are left to guess what the deceased wanted, and the emotions associated with that loss makes it hard for a loved one to plan the proper funeral.

What Happens When You Do Not Leave Written Instructions?

If you do not write down your wishes for your funeral, the state decides who makes those decisions for you. That decision may cause unnecessary grief, especially leaving a spouse or child to plan your funeral.

Also, if you have more than one child, others may feel as though they have a better idea of your wishes, and it could create battles amongst siblings. With a plan, you can dictate who you want to plan your funeral and who will be in charge; doing so may help eliminate any disagreements amongst family members.

What About a Will? Does That Have My Funeral/Burial Wishes?

No, your estate plan is not meant for your funeral or burial plans. Often, these documents are not discovered or read for weeks after your death; therefore, if you had plans written in them, they are not likely to be found in time. Wills are proper for distributing your assets, but not necessarily planning a funeral.

Where to Leave Written Instructions

Once you know how you would like to be buried or how you wish for your funeral to be handled, the next stage is leaving written instructions. Most commonly, people leave these instructions as a written copy with their estate executor, family member, or estate planning attorney. Also, a copy is sent to all loved ones so that everyone is aware of your wishes long before they must follow them.

By mailing the wishes to everyone, you can also eliminate the chance of a dispute, because everyone has the documents in their possession.

When funeral or burial wishes change over time, be sure to change your written instructions and distribute copies to everyone who has an original copy.

Things to Include in Your Funeral Plan

When creating a funeral plan, there are certain items you must include:

  • Whether you want a burial, cremation, or embalming.
  • Where do you want to be buried or cremated?
  • Do you want a container for your cremated remains? If so, which container?
  • How will your remains be transported to the facility?
  • Do you want a ceremony for your funeral or burial service?
  • What details can you provide about your ideal funeral ceremony?
  • Do you plan to have pallbearers? If so, list the names of individuals you want included.
  • Do you want a grave marker?

Services That a Mortuary Provides

Some services are provided by a mortuary, and if you prepay for your service, they can include these with the cost. Some will retrieve the body from your home or hospital and store the body until it is ready for cremation or burial. Also, they can prepare your body for your funeral or cremation, and make all necessary funeral arrangements. Doing this may relieve the pressure from loved ones having to plan a funeral.

Create a Detailed Instruction for Family Members with Your Estate Planning Attorney

When drafting your plans for a funeral or burial, contact your estate planning attorney to ensure that you have covered all corners. Speak with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today to discover your options by calling 516-605-0625 or request an appointment online.

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