Friday, May 05, 2006

Disposition of Remains and Estate

Whether in a will or codicil (a P.S. to your will) or power of attorney (with an after death “expiration”) or some other written document, leave instructions on how you wish your remains “handled” after your death (e.g. burial or cremation), who should be “in charge” of ensuring you wishes are adhered to (your representative), and who is in charge of or will benefit from your estate.

As I have mentioned before, death and grieving (at times unfortunately spiced with a little greed and/or previous “hard feelings”) make surviving friends and family at least a little crazy. I have seen verbal “fights” about these issues, amazingly often. These fights can be long and drawn out or brief, up close or long distance, but they reek havoc and sow grief separate from the grieving over the death, as well as cause confusion, consternation and delay. Families and friends can be torn apart, relationships damaged. Death investigations can be impeded or drawn to inaccurate conclusions.

“Inoculate” against some of that post-mortem craziness. Write it down and make it easy to find for those that need that information after your death.

1 comment:

carlton said...

This may not be true everywhere, but in estate planning law practice in Massachusetts, we would tell people NOT to put burial/funeral instructions in the will. The funeral takes place immediately, and often the will is not looked at for weeks (it can take years to probate the estate). Many times the family doesn't even have a copy of the will, which may be in the lawyer's office or locked in a bank vault.

A letter to the next-of-kin should do fine -- as long as it is delivered. If the person is really concerned, they can pre-arrange the funeral (and pre-pay) while still alive.