Your first thoughts when you begin to engage in the process of estate planning are usually going to revolve around the intelligent and efficient distribution of your assets. This is certainly a large part of it, but there are a number of details that many people may not consider at first. One of these is the matter of funeral arrangements.
There are those who have very specific desires in this regard. They may want a favorite priest, rabbi, imam, or minister to perform a memorial service in a particular house of worship, and they may want to be buried in a family plot. They may indeed want to be cremated rather than buried and have their storing urn place in a columbarium. The details can get very minute, down to the reading of a certain poem or the playing of a meaningful song. If they do indeed have strong preferences, it is important for them to state their wishes in writing as part of their estate plan.
Another type of scenario involves people who really don’t feel very strongly about funerary preferences. They may not care very much one way or the other and see no reason to address the issue as part of their estate plan. The problem with this is that one of the goals of estate planning is to avoid adding additional levels of stress onto an already grieving family. Aside from the chore involved in making these decisions at a difficult time, there can also be disagreements among family members concerning the details. Plus, to be blunt, the cost of a funeral can vary widely depending on certain choices that are made. It can seem callous for family members not to go “top-of-the-line” concerning every detail, but is that what you really want?
It could be suggested that each one of us has the personal responsibility to make our own choices concerning how we would like to be laid to rest. If you simply state your wishes in your estate plan, a potentially sensitive after-death matter will be extinguished before it can become an issue.