Will Your Wishes Be Honored?
Here are some helpful tips when planning your estate and when discussing your final arrangements with your family, attorney or friends:
1) Don’t keep your wish to be cremated upon death a secret. Tell your family, friends and lawyer. Your casual remarks made during life may not be taken seriously by those responsible for your funeral and/or disposition arrangements after you die. Remember, emotions will be running high for those you leave behind.
2) Include a cremation request in your Will. Be specific. For example, “Upon my death I direct that my remains be cremated and my ashes scattered in the Atlantic Ocean” or “Upon my death, I direct that my remains be immediately cremated with no services, either public or private, and my ashes interred in the Jones Family Plot in XYZ Cemetery located in Queens, New York.”
Naturally, you should consult with the appropriate legal professional for the exact working for your situation.
3) Prepare a “Cremation Directive” or similar document. This can be easily prepared by you and should include the same disposition information found in your Will. This document could be very important because Wills frequently aren’t found or read until days or weeks after a funeral is held. Sadly, some Wills are never found at all.
Here’s an example of what your Cremation Directive should say:
I, John Jones, a resident of 200 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10021 and being 50 years of age and of sound mind and body, do hereby request the following upon my death:
1) that no public or private funeral or memorial services be held in my honor;
2) that Metropolitan Funeral Service, located at 2283 Grand Ave. “, Baldwin, New York, take charge of my body after death and arrange for, and supervise the cremation of my remains;
3) that my remains are to be immediately cremated or cremated as soon as practical after my death;
4) that my cremated remains be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean – or – my cremated remains are to be interred in the ABC Family Plot, Section 9, Range 8, Plot 7, Grave # 6 in XYZ Cemetery located in Anytown, New York.
Prepare three (3) of these documents — all should be originals and not photocopies.
Note that I used the word “cremate” four times in the document. This is important as you want to make your wishes VERY clear — leave nothing to chance and eradicate all doubts in your survivor’s mind.
In the presence of a Notary Public, sign the document and have two others sign as witnesses. Your witnesses should NOT BE family members or beneficiaries in your Last Will and Testament.
Distribute the documents as follows: 1) your Executor/trix, 2) your lawyer, 3) keep one in your personal file that can be readily accessed upon your death.
If you have a paid prearrangement with our firm, you can prepare a fourth document and we will keep it with your file.
We hope this information is helpful. Consult with your attorney for specific legal questions you may have.