One Last Gift You Can Give Your Family
July 23rd, 2015 by Bunch & Brock
Planning a funeral or memorial for a loved one is something that becomes a sudden and immediate responsibility. At a time when people are already their most vulnerable, the practical demands of saying goodbye can add unnecessary strain. While it’s not pleasant to plan for your own passing, think of it this way: you have the opportunity to leave your family and friends a gift they’ll remember forever – being able to grieve without the weight of emotionally- and financially-charged decisions.
Funeral planning is a natural extension of will and estate planning. Thinking ahead can serve the dual purposes of ensuring that your wishes are followed and taking pressure off of your family at the most difficult of times. Some people may want to pre-plan their arrangements down to the readings, music and flowers. Others may find those details too tough to consider. No matter where you fall on the “comfortable discussing my mortality” spectrum, there are a few aspects that can be extremely helpful for your family if planned in advance.
The biggest issue is that of your remains. How do you feel about burial, entombment and cremation? If you aren’t sure, how can you expect your family to make a good choice for you? If you don’t have any preference, make sure it’s clear that it’s a choice you are making so that your silence cannot be read as assent to something else. Reflecting on these issues and deciding in advance are crucial to making sure that your final resting place is an accurate representation of your wishes. Being prepared also saves your grieving family from having to buy a cemetery plot in a rush – and then being upset if it turns out they made a poor, irreversible choice based on factors such as location, religion and environment.
For example, the right as to who can make decisions about the disposition of your body by cremation goes to the following people, in order:
- you, if you make a “preneed cremation authorization”
- your surviving spouse
- your adult children
- your parents
- your grandchildren
- your siblings
- your next of kin
- a court judge.
While this order may seem like common sense, one of your next-of-kin can object to cremation, leaving a court to make the final decision.
Regardless, it is always better to write down detailed instructions and name a representative to carry them out. Putting your preferences in writing will give clear guidance to your survivors and carry great weight if a dispute later arises. Don’t put your final arrangement wishes in your will because it is often not found or read until weeks after someone passes away. Prepare a separate document, give copies to family members and your attorney, and keep a copy in an accessible place.
At Bunch & Brock, we understand it can be hard to think about mortality and even harder to plan for it, but with more than 35 years of experience in the state of Kentucky, we have helped many people develop the best plan for their situation. To get started or if you have any questions about this topic, call us at 859-254-5522 or fill out this online form.