Woman selects a floral arrangement

The Importance Of Including Funeral Arrangements In Your Estate Plan

When most people think about writing their Last Will and Testament, they tend to put a lot of focus on outlining which of their loved ones get which of their assets. Have you ever thought about including funeral arrangements in your in your estate plan? Including written instructions can provide a simple way to ensure that all the information they need is already collected and organized for their use. However, there are some important things to consider before drafting a new document to ensure that you have included funeral arrangements in your plan. If you need to update your plan to include your funeral arrangements or make other changes to your estate plan, an experienced estate planning attorney with Roulet Law Firm may be able to assist you with those changes in Florida or Minnesota. Call our Minnetonka, Minnesota office at (763) 420-5087 or our Venice, Florida office at (941) 909-4644 to schedule your personalized consultation.

Why Is Funeral Planning Important?

Funeral planning is important for many reasons, according to the organization Funeral Basics. Among those reasons are:

Peace of Mind

By planning their funeral, individuals give their loved ones peace of mind. Having a plan in place ensures that bereaved family members only have to put the plan into action rather than making the plan themselves; which can often lead to unnecessary conflict while they are grieving.

Saving Money

Inflation affects everything, including funeral arrangements. Planning their own funeral allows individuals to prepay for their funeral and save money by avoiding higher prices in the future. Additionally, loved ones cannot overspend because they are grieving and purchasing based on emotion rather than logic.

Making Wishes Known

When an individual plans their own funeral, they can feel more secure that their wishes are known and will be honored by their loved ones. In addition, those who are left behind to put those plans into action have the reassurance of knowing that they are executing the funeral arrangements in accordance with their deceased friend or family member’s preferences.

Protects and Secures Funeral Funds

When individuals plan their funerals, they also typically prepay for them. This means that the money for the funeral is safely set aside and cannot be mistakenly spent, leaving the individual’s family to pay out of pocket for the funeral.

Prepaid Funeral Funds Immediately Available

Because the funds to pay for the funeral were already set aside for that specific purpose, they are immediately available when the time comes. This scenario compares favorably to waiting six to eight weeks for life insurance benefits to be disbursed, as well as to loved ones paying out of their own pockets. The reduction of financial burden on loved ones makes it easy to understand why many opt for this.

When Should You Ask for Funeral Arrangements?

The best time to open a discussion with loved ones about funeral arrangements is as soon as an individual knows what they want. While putting funeral arrangements in your estate plan ensures that everyone will know what your final wishes are, it is always a good idea to go over those plans with loved ones in real time, while you are still alive. Some individuals may also wish to consider storing the same arrangements online or in other documents. Roulet Law Firm may be able to assist Florida and Minnesota residents with making sure their funeral arrangements are documented and safely stored.

While most people do not enjoy discussing their own deaths or the deaths of those they love, there are certain times or events that can make broaching the subject easier. Some good times to ask family to hear your funeral arrangements or ask a loved one what their preferences may be include:

  • After someone close has gone into hospice care
  • When someone close has been diagnosed with a terminal illness
  • After the death of a friend or colleague
  • Milestone events such as birthdays, retirement, or weddings
  • After significant life changes such as divorce, the birth of a child, or a major move

What Is the Meaning of Final Arrangements?

Final arrangements means just what the term sounds like: the arrangements an individual makes for everything they want to happen immediately after they die. When putting funeral arrangements in your will, or preparing your own final arrangements, it is important to consider questions such as:

  • How will your remains be handled (cremation or burial)?
  • Is there a specific mortuary you wish to use?
  • Do you want to be embalmed or not? (Note that the Florida Department of Financial Services requires a body to be embalmed or refrigerated within 24 hours of death; in Minnesota, perhaps owing to the comparatively lower temperatures for much of the year, the Department of Health requires that all bodies be embalmed or refrigerated within 72 hours from the time of death.)
  • What casket, urn, or other container do you want your remains placed in?
  • Do you want your remains present at the wake, funeral, or other ceremony?
  • Will you have pallbearers? If so, who are they?
  • Where do you want your remains to be scattered, stored, or buried?
  • Are there any unusual or specific things you would like to have at your funeral, such as a favorite song played, a family video presented, or an activity you would like everyone to take part in?

How Do You Leave a Funeral Instruction?

Putting funeral arrangements in your estate plan is a good beginning to ensuring your final wishes are honored. This is why it is a good idea to leave a very clear funeral instruction, or final arrangements document, that is kept separate from your will.

When leaving your funeral instructions, a few things to consider include:

  • Make trustworthy family members or friends aware of the existence and location of these instructions.
  • Confirm that the final arrangements document does not contradict any provisions of your will.
  • Sign and date the funeral instruction document.
  • Update the document when needed to ensure that all contact information is correct and that anyone who looks at it can clearly see it is the most recent version.
  • Consider having more than one copy and storing those copies with your will, an attorney if you have one, in a safe deposit box, and with one or two trusted loved ones.

Have You Documented Your Funeral Arrangements Yet?

As one component of a comprehensive estate plan, your will or trust is one of the most important documents your loved ones will look for. Your instructions for your memorial and remembrance is also likely to be the first document they look for. Putting funeral arrangements in your estate plan is a good way to ensure that your loved ones are aware of your final wishes and can carry them out precisely as you intend. At Roulet Law Firm, we include a remembrance and memorial form you can use to document your wishes as par of your comprehensive estate plan. If you are ready to write down your final arrangements and include them in your written estate plan, the Florida and Minnesota estate planning attorneys with Roulet Law Firm may be able to assist you. Call our Minnesota office at (763) 420-5087 or our Florida office at (941) 909-4644 today to schedule your personalized consultation.

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Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker