Don’t Assume Your Heirs Know Your Final Wishes

Many people avoid common estate planning techniques because they believe that the beneficiaries of their estate are already aware of their wishes. As a recent article explains, however, making this assumption is often a big mistake.

Without an estate plan, a person cannot be certain of what will happen after his or her death. Leaving explicit instructions with legal backing is often the only way to make sure that your wishes are carried out. This is true with funeral and burial wishes, as well as property distribution.

If you have specific wishes regarding your funeral or burial, it is imperative to put these wishes in writing and make them known. Even if you don’t have particularly strong wishes regarding these items, a lack of any designation can often cause fighting amongst family members with differing opinions as to your funeral and burial.

A will is typically not the best place to include instructions for a funeral and burial. This is because, often, a family will have funeral and burial arrangements made before they locate the decedent’s will. Rather, it is good practice to simply write out your funeral and burial wishes, and then sign and date the document. Make several copies of this document and provide them to your executor, as well as key friends or family members.

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