Should You Include Burial Wishes in Your Estate Plan?

Many San Diego residents have specific burial instructions they would like their family members to follow after they pass away. Some people want to be laid to rest in a private family cemetery, while others wish to be buried in accordance with their religious beliefs.

If you have burial wishes you would like to pass on to your family, you may be wondering if you should include them in your estate plan. The short answer is yes, you should.

However, including burial instructions in your estate plan is not as simple as adding a paragraph to your will and calling it a day.

In many cases, the process of settling an estate does not start until weeks or even months after the funeral. So, if you only include your burial wishes in your will, there’s a good chance you will already have been laid to rest when your attorney passes your instructions on to your family.

Additionally, because your body is not considered part of your estate, your executor may not be able to carry out your funeral instructions.

That’s not to say you should not include your burial instructions in your will, though. You should. Just be aware that doing so will not guarantee your wishes are followed.

If you want to increase the odds of your family carrying out your burial wishes, it’s generally best to take the following two steps in addition to amending your will:

Talk to Them

Speaking to your loved ones is the best way to convey your funeral wishes in plain English.

Don’t talk to different family members at different times, though. Doing so may result in some of your loved ones receiving slightly different instructions than others. When you pass away, those mixed messages could lead to arguments.

To avoid this issue, speak to everyone at the same time, and encourage people to ask clarifying questions afterward. If anyone is confused about your wishes, you can help them understand.

Create a Final Arrangements Document

A “final arrangements” document is a separate document from your will. Though it is not legally binding, it covers a variety of important issues, such as:

  • The location of your burial
  • Your preferred casket
  • Your funeral officiant
  • Your funeral director, and
  • Your preferred cemetery marker

Once you (or your California estate planning attorney) draft your final arrangements document, you should sign it, date it, and distribute it to your friends and family.

Your Knowledgeable California Estate Planning Attorney

Do you need an experienced San Diego family lawyer to help you convey your burial wishes to your loved ones? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at the Semanchik Law Group. We’ve been helping Californians get their affairs in order for years, and we’d be honored to assist you with your estate plan.

To set up a consultation with a member of our team, all you need to do is fill out our short online contact form or give us a call at (619) 535-1811.