Contrary to popular belief, you should not include your burial instructions or other final arrangements in your Will. Instead, leave your burial instructions or other instructions regarding your final arrangements in a separate instrument. The reason for this is timing. Most likely, your heirs or executor may not find your will immediately, and by the time someone locates it, it may be too late. You need to make sure you give your funeral instructions to someone who can locate it immediately.
One good way to leave your funeral instructions is to draft a simple letter of last instructions or wishes. You can give a copy to several people, including your executor, close friends and immediate family. This way, several people will have access to your last instructions and use your letter before your funeral.
If you do not leave a letter of last instructions or other written document outlining your last wishes, your loved ones will most likely have the legal right to make final ceremony decisions. You should also make sure you set aside sufficient funds to cover your burial expenses to avoid placing the financial burden on your loved ones.
In our office, we provide our clients with a three-ring binder that includes not only copies of their estate planning documents, but also a designated place for them to set forth their wishes concerning final services and disposition of remains. There is also a place for them to place copies of any agreements that may have been arranged with funeral homes, cremation services, etc.
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