Contrary to popular belief and a lot of tv shows and movies, most wills do not include funeral plans and burial instructions. And there is a good reason why: most wills aren’t read until after the deceased person has been buried or is otherwise put to rest.
One of the most heartbreaking cases out there involves the family of a veteran that fought amongst themselves for many years over the burial of their father. When he died, they purchased a family plot to bury him and other members of the family in in the future. A few weeks after the funeral, the family started going through their dad’s estate planning documents, only to discover that he had already purchased a plot for himself at a nearby veterans’ cemetery. On top of this, they found out that he wanted to be cremated.
A huge fight then broke out over whether the father should be disinterred, cremated, and buried at the veterans’ cemetery. A lot of feelings were hurt, and a lot of time and money was wasted getting lawyers involved and taking the dispute to court. No matter what the father’s burial wishes were, this situation was certainly not what he would have wanted.
The best way to prevent something like this from happening when you die is to talk to your loved ones about what your funeral and burial plans are, and to let the people who will be carrying out your last requests know where they can find all the documents and instructions they will need to do so properly.
A good lawyer is not going to put your funeral and burial plans in your will or other estate planning documents because they won’t get read on time, but he or she will help you get your plans put into a format that is easy to act upon if that is something you want. It is also possible to work a lot of this out with a local funeral home ahead of time so that your loved ones don’t have to focus on anything but grieving you when the time comes.