Can I Control What Happens to My Remains after I Die?

Can I Control What Happens to My Remains after I Die?

Often not spoken about or even considered, it is nonetheless very important to discuss with your loved ones what type of final death arrangements you would like to have for your remains. Otherwise, it can put undue stress on them at a difficult time. Often, it can lead to arguments and even litigation between your heirs and loved ones. Consider including the following items in your will to help prevent that.

Burial or Cremation?

You should decide whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated and spell out the details of any special items or services you would like included.

For example, if you choose burial, if you wish to have a funeral, do you wish it to be private or public? It may also be a good idea to decide to pre-choose your casket, flowers, pallbearers, and even the clothing to be dressed in. Do you want a pre-service or wake for those to view your body and pay respects before the funeral?  What location and cemetery?

If you wish to be cremated, choose your urn in advance and decide where you want your ashes to be stored or scattered, depending on your preferences.

Any special music or singers. What about the people who will talk about you and your life?

If you want religious services, you should choose the location and minister or priest that you wish to conduct the funeral. Pick any special spiritual readings you wish to be read that may be highly meaningful to you. Any special music or singers? What about the people who will talk about you and your life?

Unique Special Requests

Some people wish to donate their body to science for medical research. Others wish to have their cremains buried or spread in certain locations, such as their favorite place to travel, in the ocean or a river, Disney World, or even to outer space!  Some creative people even find joy in writing their own obituary in advance of their demise, which tend to be the most interesting obituaries of all.

If you have desires that are unique and close to your heart about your final resting place, it is important to include directions in your last will and testament, so it will be clear to your executor and heirs that no matter how unusual your wishes where it was what you truly wanted in the end.

Who Makes these Decisions If You Don’t Include Them in a Will?

When a Utahan does not specify how their remains should be handled after death, then Utah law takes over by first naming any surviving spouse as the person that would have authority to make such decisions. If there is no surviving spouse, then the authority is granted per Utah’s rule of intestacy.

If you want a specific person to take charge of your remains, you should include your wishes in your will just like you should do about your estate and assets when naming an executor or trustee.

Please contact attorney Rex B Bushman to ensure your final wishes are honored as you wish and to talk about your estate plan needs.