Real Time Web Analytics


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Should I put funeral or cremation instructions in my Will?

Is your Will the right place to write down your funeral instructions? As always, it depends on the facts, but generally I think it's a good idea.

I used to think that funeral instructions didn't belong in a Will, mostly because by the time the family reads the Will of a deceased person, the funeral or cremation has probably already taken place. By then it's too late to follow the instructions. However, I now now think that as long as the deceased had communicated his or her wishes/instructions to the executor or family while he or she was alive, having the instructions in the Will as well is a good idea.

Something that many people do not know about funeral/cremation instructions in a Will is that they are not legally binding. If he or she wants to, the executor can completely ignore this part of the Will and make the arrangements he or she wants to make for the disposition of the remains. A statement giving these instructions in a Will is an expression of wishes only. Because of this, each of us must tell our named executors what our wishes are.

Having said all that, I'm sure you're wondering why it's a good idea to include them. Over the years that I've been involved in Will-planning and administration of estates, I've come to believe strongly in putting clauses into the Will that communicate on behalf of the deceased person to prevent disputes among family members. If you think that family members don't disagree over what should be done with a loved one's remains, then you just haven't been paying attention. There is nobody harder to deal with than someone who believes that he or she knows what the deceased "would have wanted".

A statement in the Will giving some instructions, even if it's not legally binding, will at least let the family know what the person's wishes were. If the Will backs up the executor's decision to, say, arrange for cremation, then all of those who would have preferred a traditional burial will just have to put up with the decision.

Working within a trust company, we find the client's expression of wishes very important, and we always ask our Will-planning customers to tell us in advance if they have pre-arranged or pre-paid funeral services, or if they have specific wishes (e.g. to cremate the body and scatter the ashes in the Pacific Ocean).

1 comment:

  1. Cremation urn forms a significant part of last rites in Hinduism, as it is used to collect the ashes of a dead person that is flown into a holy river, preferably the Ganges, later.


You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails