Estate Planning Blog

3 Quick Tips For Estate Planning for Your Funeral and Burial Arrangements

Thinking about one’s death and funeral arrangements is a necessary part of life. To spare their families added grief and suffering, we recommend our clients plan their own arrangements in advance. This can be fulfilling, but many people do not know where to start. If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area or in the cities surrounding Antioch, Concord or Walnut Creek, please reach out to The Law Offices of Joel A. Harris to get more information, but for now here are some tips to help you figure out what to put in your final arrangements checklist.

Consider Prepaying

In order to ease the cost of burial or cremation, many people sign contracts which allow them to pay their expenses in advance. You can also pre-purchase burial plots, caskets, or an urn for ashes. Some states protect your funds but others do not, so be sure to read the terms and conditions of whatever agreement you sign carefully. Before deciding to prepay, be aware of the services are you paying for. For example, the cost of a burial plot alone does not usually include opening and closing the plot and many other expenses of a funeral and burial.

Offer Specific Instructions

In this part of your final arrangements, be sure to instruct the company exactly what you want done with your burial or cremation. Be sure to include the name and address of the cremation company, funeral home, or cemetery, ceremony preferences, and specifics on burial plots or scattering instructions, along with your other wishes. You can never be too careful and you have a right to control your final wishes. Most companies will be happy to discuss this with you and allow you the right to decide how the arrangements work. If you need a referral to a good company need you, please contact us and we will connect you with a local expert.

Tell Your Family of Your Wishes

Many people state their wishes in their Will or Living Trust. However, do not just write them down in these documents. Let close relatives know about what you want done with your final arrangements so they will know before there is time to review your documents.  You can also write down additional details and wishes in a separate letter to your family to be kept with your estate plan, and opened upon your death.  Our clients have included instructions about music, officiant, and many other important details.

Figure Out Your Funeral Arrangements

There are often events before, during and after a burial or cremation. Before your burial or cremation you may want a wakes or funeral service. At the burial site, or during the scattering of your ashes, a religious officiant or family member may give a few words before to honor your life. After a burial or cremation, you may wish to have your family hold a memorial or other celebration of life to gather and celebrate your legacy in a joyous manner. If you have preferences for any of these gatherings, be sure to put them in your estate plan.

Are You Worried about Your End of Life Plan?

If you are not prepared with a current estate plan then your family could be vulnerable to higher tax bills, extensive legal fees, and familial conflicts. How to arrange your funeral, burial or cremation is just one part of this important process. To avoid those obstacles you should visit an Estate Planning Attorney to get professional help, and create an estate plan that accomplishes your goals.

The Law Offices of Joel A Harris are located in the cities of Concord, Walnut Creek, and  Antioch, California.  We have worked for over 25 years giving the best guidance our clients need to protect their assets. Have a question about your planning your estate? Feel free to schedule a sit-down meeting where we are happy to patiently answer every question you may have. For your free consultation reach out to us at (925) 757-4605.


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