When you engage in the process of devising an estate plan the idea behind it is to make your wishes known so that they can be carried out after you are gone. Distributing your assets to your heirs is probably at the forefront of your thinking while you are building your plan, but there are other matters that should be included as well. There are details that need to be attended to that some people overlook at worst and fail to prioritize at best, and one of these is the matter of funeral arrangements.
In a sense the responsibility that we all have to state our wishes in regard to how we want to be laid to rest is self evident. This is a very personal choice that even your closest family members are not prepared to make in your behalf. Even if you state your preferences to someone verbally on one occasion, you may have made some statement to another family member at a different time. After all, things change over time and it is not uncommon to adopt different perspectives as we age.
By the same token, if you never discussed the matter with anyone and didn’t take the time to leave anything behind in writing, your loved ones will have to make plans with no road map. They may not concur on the details concerning whether you are to be cremated or buried, or whether you will be laid to rest in a direct or traditional manner. At a time like this the last thing you want to leave behind is an added layer of stress and potential acrimony among your loved ones. Some people may feel uncomfortable addressing the matter, but cost is an issue at well. Do you really desire a lavish proceeding that costs $20,000 or more, or would you prefer to go the economical route and put that money in the pockets of your children or grandchildren?
Funeral planning should be a part of any comprehensive estate plan, to actualize your specific desires, save your family from potential difficulties, or both.
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