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More thoughts on funeral planning

In our last two posts, we have been looking at funeral planning and its importance within the broader task of estate planning. Here we'll look at some further tips with regard to funeral planning.

Among the common questions people have about funeral planning are: the importance of writing down funeral plans; where/how to record your funeral plans; what types of things to include in your funeral plan; and how to keep costs down. Here we'll offer some general comments on these areas.

Writing your funeral plans down not only save your family the work and stress later on, but often saves you money since services are often less expensive than arrangement made after your death. If you don't leave written instructions for your family, state law will determine who gets to make the decision. While this may work for some families, it certainly will not work for every family. Just as in your estate plan you shouldn't rely on the state to determine the distribution of your assets, you don't want the state determining who makes your funeral arrangements for you.

Funeral plans shouldn't be put in your will, since wills are typically not accessible until weeks or months after your death. Most often, funeral wishes are recorded and given to a persons' executor and/or their attorney. It is also a good idea to send copies to family members.

As we mentioned in out last two posts, there are a number of things your funeral plans can specify. This will be as individualized to each person's preferences. Typical instructions concern disposition of the body, facility to be used for cremation or burial, container to be used for the body, whether there will be a ceremony, details of the ceremony, whether there will be a tombstone, and so on.

As far as how to save money on your funeral, there are a number of possibilities. Just planning ahead can save you a lot of money. Paying in advance may save you even more, if the facility offers this option. Funeral societies help many people plan their funeral around a predetermined budget, and this can be helpful in saving money as well.

Source: Online: http://estate.findlaw.com/estate-planning/estate-planning-other-topics/estate-planning-funeral.html; Findlaw Funeral Planning Guide FAQ; give answers to basic funeral planning questions.

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