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How To Pre-Plan A Funeral In Eight Steps

Step 8. Take The Appropriate Steps To Assure That Your Wishes Will Be Carried Out

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When you're gone, you won't have control over what people do, no matter how much you pre-plan. In order to have the best chance of assuring that what you want will happen:

Choose someone to be in charge.

Even if you manage to think of everything, someone has to actually make sure that your wishes are carried out. It could be your Executor/Personal Representative, or it could be another person entirely. (To learn more, see Wills 101).

Of course, it would be helpful to be sure that the person you choose is willing to take on this activity. Talk with the person to not only be sure he or she is willing to tak on the job, but also is willing to go along with your ideas. Describe the feeling you want to have, or what is important to you -- not just the details of what you want. If the person has an overview, it will be easier to make decisions when the unexpected arises - as it always will.

Write down your wishes.

For help, see Funeral Plan Chart. Print the chart. Let the person you choose to be in charge know where it is -- or give him or her a copy. Feel free to change the document as often as you wish -- just be sure to give each new copy to the person in charge.

Do not put your funeral wishes in your Will or safe deposit box. A Will is often not read until after a funearl takes place and safe deposit boxes are locked as soon as the bank learns of the holders death. (To learn more, see Wills 101, Safe Deposit Box.)

Discuss your decisions with your family or loved ones.

Getting people to agree ahead of time with your wishes will help assure they will be carrired out.

Involve as many family members as practical in the discussion so that everyone is aware of your wishes. Include your wishes about disposition of the remains, funeral and/or memorial service, and resting place. The discussion will help eliminate bickering or confusion at the time of your funeral. You may encounter resistance discussing funeral arrangements with your family, but remember that you are actually assisting them by spelling out your wishes ahead of time.

If you think talking about this subject is bad luck, or it's not done in your family, express your thoughts to your attorney or to an advisor outside the family.

If you really want to assure your wishes are carried out, make it a pre-condition before the person in charge of your funeral receives a benefit from your estate.

If you want to go this far, speak with your attorney to find out if such a requirement is enforceable in the state in which you live.

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