What is a Funeral Directive?        

November 9, 2020

After a loved one passes away, it is important that their final wishes are carried out, including wills, estates, and other plans. Setting up a funeral directive is something that individuals can do to help their family during difficult times.

A funeral directive is a way to show how an individual wants their funeral to be planned. Blended families, second marriages, and other factors can lead to conflicts when people are grieving. Having a plan in place can be a relief for the survivors since the choices have already been made. Without a funeral directive, the decisions will be made according to state laws. A spouse will be selected first to make arrangements. If they are unable to or if there is no spouse, a child or next of kin will be selected.

What Should be Included in a Funeral Directive?

Funeral directives can specify if the individual wants to be buried or cremated. Details include the funeral parlor, officiant, cemetery, and who would get the ashes. The individual can also include the type of service that they want, such as a religious or non-religious arrangement.

Some funeral directives also include specifications about memorial services, how the remains will be transported, and caskets. Those who wish to have their organs or tissues donated can also indicate this in writing. It is crucial that a funeral directive is signed, dated, and witnessed by a notary public. Formulating a funeral directive is important because it lessens the burden on family members.

Should a Funeral Directive be Included in My Will?

One might think that the will is the best place to put a funeral directive, but this could lead to a lot of problems. If the survivors do not have paper copies of the will, they may not be able to access the directive until the will is probated, which could take weeks or even months. Wills are better suited for pressing matters.

It makes more sense to leave the funeral directive with the executor of the estate or a trusted lawyer. Copies can also be provided to anyone who needs them. This way, all the bases are covered in case there are any disputes. If the individual decides to make any changes to the funeral directive later on, all of these parties should be updated. It is also a good idea to have a copy of the will with the funeral directive if the estate will be paying for the expenses. A lawyer will ensure that the funeral directive is legally binding and make sure it is executed.

Media Estate Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients with Necessary Funeral Directives

Having a funeral directive will save your family from having to make important decisions during a difficult time. Our Media estate lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. assist clients with wills, estates, and funeral directives. Contact us online or call us at 610-565-3701 for a free consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.