Talk to your Family about Burial Wishes By: Marianna I. Chaet, Esq.

To bury or cremate? That is the question that family members ask as they step into the funeral home after a loved one has passed away. In the ideal scenario, you have answered that question for them during your lifetime.

Pre-arranging burial or cremation with funeral homes and buying plots at memorial gardens ahead of time is a great idea, but it is not effective if a conversation with family does not take place ahead of time. Your family will have no way of knowing that the preparations were made unless you tell them.

Final disposition of bodily remains is not something that people like to talk about or even think about. Some people feel strongly about cremation, others want a full body burial, while some like the green burial plan. One question that frequently comes up during an initial estate planning meeting is whether or not those wishes should be expressed in a will.

There is no legal problem expressing burial or cremation wishes in a will. The only concern is that the Testator expresses those wishes to the people who will be taking care of the arrangements. It comes down to whether your family is going to take care of your funeral arrangements first or track down your will. Wishful thinking (and what typically happens) is that the funeral arrangements will come first, and then the will second. It would be heartbreaking for the family to find out that what they chose to do is not what you expressed in your will.

If you truly want to make it easy on your family, then have those hard conversations about burial wishes sooner rather than later.


Marianna is an associate at the Law Offices of J. Christopher Miller, PC. 678-746-2900

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s