Up until the funeral my family has been planning the last week I never worried too much about putting my exact wishes down in writing. However, after seeing the costs involved and also the variety of decisions that can be made I am much more inclined to put my own wishes in writing. If nothing else, it will make things easier for my family. You can do this in your estate plan and I encourage you to do so.
I have been an estate planning attorney since 1994 and have prepared hundreds, and probably over 1,000, estate plans. I have talked to clients about a whole host of end of life decisions, life support, organ donation, cremation, burial, what cemetery, where to scatter ashes, and the list goes on and on. I have had clients tell me what songs should be played at their funeral, who should officiate, and even had one client tell me a couple of public officials who were specifically NOT allowed to attend their funeral.
The cost to bury my wife’s grandmother was much more than I realized between the plot, the coffin, opening the hole, filling the hole back in, etc…. Ok, that’s easy, I have told my wife to CREMATE ME PLEASE! I should add that to my will and I will do so soon. I don’t have a strong feeling one way or the other, between burial and cremation, so just cremate me.
Oh ya, I really want to be an organ donor. I once had the pleasure of visiting a friend’s young baby at the hospital after they had received major organ donations. The kid had a “zipper” up his whole front side from the surgery. You know what, that was one of the most moving things I have ever seen. Yes, use all my organs! I am not ready to give my body to science, as some plan for, but I am ready to donate to save a life!
Ok, what about the funeral itself!? Well, that’s more personal, and almost comedic, so I won’t post here. However, if you are a client, and ask me about it, I will tell you! I am thinking specifics about food, location, number of attendees, obituary information, etc…. I am not normally a control freak, as far as I know, but I am feeling more control-freakish on this issue now. Most as well go out how I want, right!?
Anyway, the point of this post is that YOU can write down all your wishes in an official legal document to increase the chances of it happening how you want. It would be my pleasure to talk with you about the issues and even refer to experts (mortuaries and cemeteries) if you want to plan some of that.
I look forward to talking to you. -John