Regardless of the size of your estate, comprehensive estate planning can help you make the most of the assets you have worked hard to build. It is important to make sure that you take a thorough approach to estate planning in order to preserve as many assets as possible, and also to make sure that you make dealing with a loss as easy on your family members and friends as possible. One of the most common ways to do that is to include funeral arrangement and instructions for the disposition of your remains. There are a number of approaches to doing this, and ultimately the terms you set forth will be unique to you and your family’s wants and needs. However, a recent article from the National Law Review provides some helpful information about this aspect of estate planning.
Most states allow you to iron out many of the details of your funeral arrangements and the disposition of your remains ahead of time. In many cases, these are integral pieces of a comprehensive estate plan. You can dictate whether you wish to be buried or cremated; specify the location of your burial; specify any memorialization; and even designate one individual to make sure your funeral arrangements and the disposition of your remains are conducted in the way you have chosen. Depending on the state you live in, nominating an individual to carry out your particular wishes gives them priority over other individuals that would otherwise potentially have the right to make these decisions for you. This can be helpful because, no matter how carefully you plan, it is impossible to predict all of the circumstances that could arise and you will want someone that you trust in the position to determine the best course of action. More and more, these types of arrangements are becoming commonplace alongside powers of attorney and healthcare directives. In many ways, completing this type of directive can be just as important – and it will likely help your family avoid additional stress and grief during a difficult time.
In many cases, you are able to draft prepaid funeral contracts. This had the added benefit of making sure that all of the assets you are able to leave to your heirs can actually be left to them because you are able to take care of many of the costs in advance, too. That means your heirs will not be surprised with the often-high cost of funeral arrangements. You can also specify many different preferences as far as religious approaches, cultural traditions, viewings, and many other aspects related to funeral preparation. Your family can avoid a great deal of stress if you are able to take care of many of these details, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your wishes are going to be carried out. Many funeral homes will also let you pay for these plans in installment payments, so you can pay for the cost over a period of time and be able to leave that much more to the individuals you choose to distribute your assets to.