Have you ever thought about how you want your remains to be treated or how you want to be memorialized after you pass away?  What does your spouse prefer?  Your children?

Funeral, burial, cremation and other decisions…

One of the first matters to be handled (and the first potential family conflict) after you pass away will involve your funeral arrangements and the interment of your remains.  Most people have a strong preference about whether their remains are buried or cremated, but few have shared these preferences with family or written them down.  The amount of planning you’ve done likely depends on your age and life experiences, but we believe everyone should put a plan in place regardless of age or health.

Talk to your loved ones…

Yes, a conversation about your funeral may be unpleasant, but it is an important one to have with those closest to you.  It is also important to sign directives to memorialize your instructions and to name someone you trust to handle these affairs.  Without making these decisions ahead of time, you may inadvertently pit your surviving spouse against your children from a prior relationship or your children against each other.  Surely that is not the legacy you wish to leave behind.

Put it in writing…

As a part of our estate planning process, we encourage our clients to leave memorial instructions outlining their funeral and interment preferences. The basic instructions include a choice of burial or cremation, but they can also get more detailed and include your choices for venue, invitees, scripture and music.  In fact, one gentleman left three pages of detailed “party plans,” even going so far as to clip a $10.00 bill to the instructions to “tip the altar boy.”  While we are used to seeing varying degrees of detail from different clients, that was the most specific set of instructions so far!

While going into such detail may sound strange to some, by pre-planning and memorializing your preferences, you can eliminate tension, strife and decision-making at a highly emotional time for your loved ones.  In Texas, if you do not have a legally designated agent for handling the disposition of your remains, your next-of-kin will need to sign off before you can be buried or cremated.  If not everyone immediately agrees (or can be found to provide a signature), the result can be a lengthy delay causing more expense and discord for your loved ones.

A well-constructed estate planning is all in the details, so even if you have a Last Will and Testament outlining the distribution of your property and saving taxes, you need to make sure all of the “little” decisions and loose ends are tied up as well.  Our team will help guide you so nothing is overlooked and so you and your loved ones are protected.