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One of the most challenging topics to discuss when creating an estate plan is the topic of your remains. As attorneys, we meet people from all backgrounds, many of whom have varying wishes as to what should happen to their remains after they die.
Oftentimes, the default plan that people chose is to be buried through a funeral home. There is no law requiring the use of a funeral home, though many choose to do so because of the full range of services offered, which can make the entire burial process a little easier. If you would like to retain the services of a funeral home, then you should research funeral homes now and make arrangements for a prepaid funeral. Planning ahead will alleviate the stress your loved ones may feel about making arrangements for your burial and can help ensure that the funeral home of your choosing provides services you desire.
It is important to consider appointing an agent to be in charge of your funeral and burial arrangements. A qualified professional can help you complete an Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains document in order to appoint an agent. By designating an agent, you can avoid misunderstandings and arguments among friends and/or family members about what the funeral and burial arrangements should be.
Though there is no mandate that an agent be appointed, if it is not done then the first next of kin who claims the body will likely be the one to make burial or funeral decisions. However, if you do not want your next of kin to be in charge of your remains, then you should appoint an agent and inform him/her of your wishes.
Part of the Control Disposition of Remains document relates to special arrangements a person would want with regard to their funeral or burial.
While some may wish to be buried, others may wish to be cremated and have their ashes scattered in their favorite natural setting, such as out at sea. In these instances, whoever is in charge of the disposition of the remains should be aware of state and federal laws that regulate such disposition, and should apply for the appropriate permits. The failure to do so could result in the inadvertent commission of a state and/or federal crime. In other cases, if one wishes to donate their body to science or donate organs for medical purposes, the proper steps must be in place to do so.
Although there is no right answer as to what should happen to one’s remains after death, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations concerning disposition of remains to ensure your wishes comply with the law so they can be honored. Contact us today at 1-800-680-1717.
Eric J. Einhart
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530