What funeral arrangements should be included in a will?

Date: Apr 16, 2015

Planning for one's own funeral can often be difficult, but it also goes a long way in relieving survivors of many of the practical decisions they might have to make at an emotional time. That is why it is very common to make funeral arrangements part of the estate planning process while a person is still alive.

In a will, many people now have instructions on how they want the funeral to happen, where they would like to be buried and how the whole process is going to be paid for. Below are some things to consider when including funeral arrangements as part of the will writing process.

Planning arrangements

A person may have specific wishes for how they would like their funeral to occur depending on religious or cultural characteristics, or even just personal taste. Planning one's own funeral can be as simple as telling family or close friends your intentions, or as complex as pre-arranging or even pre-paying for the funeral.

Legal disputes can arise if there are no wishes in a will on how the deceased wants their funeral to proceed. However, the courts can be reluctant to intervene in funeral arrangements. A will outlining what the person wants will clear up any ambiguities between family and friends.

Paying for your funeral

Some people pay for their funerals in advance and these plans can be part of a person's will. 

If someone doesn't feel it necessary to be specific about who will conduct the funeral and burial, it is possible to leave a funeral bond in a will. A funeral bond represents money a person has put aside to cover these costs. It is also exempt from the asset and income tests of pensions and keeps funeral money separate from other accounts and investments a person might have.

Information about prepaid funerals and funeral bonds should always be kept with the will or with the appointed executor so it can be found when needed.

If you need more information about wills and estate planning, contact a qualified lawyer.