Putting Your Funeral Wishes in Writing

Becky Cholewka: One of the things that estate planning can do is also help plan for your funeral.

In a will, or trust, or power of attorney, we can put in your wishes as far as whether you’d like to buried or cremated.

You could also have additional documents that are not legal documents. They’re just documents that you prepare that lay out more specific choices as to what your wishes are or even your religious preferences as well.

For example, if you are Catholic and you want to make sure that you are not cremated, you prefer to be buried, you want to make sure that those wishes are laid out as to why you are making that decision as well so that people truly understand what your wishes are.

Maybe, you have a preference to be cremated, and there’s certain places that you would like your ashes to be scattered. We can write that down so that it makes more sense for your family as well as makes it easier for your family to know what your wishes are.

I’ve actually gone through the process of completely preplanning my funeral. My husband and I actually both did that a few years ago the day after Thanksgiving. We called it our Black Friday purchase.

We went through, and we made those decisions. Do we want to be buried or cremated? Do we want to have a viewing ceremony? Do we want to have a funeral? Do we want to have flowers? Do we want to have our ashes in a certain type of container?

If you’ve never gone through the process of making those decisions for a loved one right when they’ve died, it is hard.

When my dad died at 19, he knew he wanted to be cremated, but he didn’t have those wishes drawn out anywhere. We just knew that from him. Unfortunately, the decisions were made that he was actually buried, which is not what he wanted to do.

It was hard to even go through that process. I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the cemetery to pick out his burial plot. It was too hard for me in that moment of just losing him.

If these documents would have been in place and his wishes clearly would have been pointed out, it would have been so much easier for our family to follow through with his wishes.

Again, you could put this information in your estate planning, your legal documents, but you could always add additional information as well in your estate planning binder so people know exactly what your wishes are.

If you need any recommendations for some local planning opportunities for cemeteries, please give us a call. We’ll give you the name of some great local people, again, people that we’ve even used ourselves.