Funeral planning is not a pleasant experience, especially when you’re pre-planning your own. But Orange County will lawyers stress that it’s important to have your wishes in writing for after you pass away, since you won’t be around to let anyone know what you want done once you’re gone.
Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want a traditional funeral or a celebration of life gathering? Is there a certain person who you know will carry out your wishes when you’re gone? These are important questions that you should have answers to, and more importantly, questions that your loved ones should know the answers to as well.
Orange County will lawyers often find that clients believe funeral instructions come as part of their Last Will and Testament – but this is not generally the case. A Last Will and Testament can direct how your assets and property are distributed and who should be named as guardians of your underage children if necessary, but it will not typically direct what should be done with your body after you pass away or how your funeral arrangements should be handled.
In order to do this, you will need a Disposition of Remains – this document allows you to state what you would like done with your body after you’ve passed away, what type of funeral, if any, you’d like to have, and who should be contacted in the event of your death. You can make this document as detailed as you’d like, and unless there are unforeseen circumstances, your wishes will most likely be carried out.
For example, singer David Bowie wished that his remains would be flown to Bali after his death so that they may be cremated in a Buddhist ritual. Unfortunately, this could not be done for logistical reasons – which Bowie prepared for. Instead, his body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in Bali, which Bowie requested in the event that his remains could not be cremated on the island.
In addition, Orange County will lawyers warn that extraordinary or outlandish disposition wishes, such as scattering ashes at Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, cannot be legally enforced. It’s important to keep a realistic view of what should happen after you pass away, as well as make sure that you are not putting your loved ones in a tight spot between carrying out your wishes and possibly breaking the law. An Orange County will lawyer can give you guidance as to what type of conditions may or may not be enforceable in your documented Disposition of Remains.
If you have any questions about the Disposition of Remains, or you want to review your estate plan to make sure that your wishes have the best chance of being carried out, please contact us at (949) 260-1400 to set up a consultation.