Who Plans Your Funeral

One part of estate planning that can often be overlooked is deciding what will be done for your funeral. This is not a very enjoyable topic to plan out, but leaving it unresolved can result in a dispute among family members during an emotional time.

Funeral For A Friend & Co-Worker

(Photo credit: Tobyotter)

California law is very clear about who has the right and responsibility to plan your funeral. Of course, you have the right to plan your own funeral, but in order to do so, you must write down instructions before you die. You can also give this authority to a health care agent. If you choose not to do either of these things, your spouse or domestic partner has the right and responsibility to plan your funeral. Next in line are your children, followed by your parents, followed by your siblings, followed by your next closest relative. If there is more than one person at any of these levels, decision making would be done by majority rule.

You may want to consult a qualified attorney for assistance drafting your writing funeral plan or appointing a health care agent. An additional way to avoid family disputes on this topic is to include an informal letter with your estate plan. This would not be a binding legal document, but it would explain your desired plan to family members, so that they are not as likely to argue over the funeral.

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