Should I Include Burial Wishes In My Will?

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | March 20, 2019

graveyardIn life, the only certainty is death, but it can hardly ever be timed. As a result, it’s important to use a will or last testament to ensure your wishes are carried out when you become deceased. In Texas, you can use your will to name the person who will be responsible for carrying out your funeral arrangements. You can also use the document to give detailed instructions regarding your final wishes. In most cases, the will also includes instructions or information about the funds set aside to pay the final funeral expenses, which includes the costs of cremation or burial.

Who Makes Funeral Arrangements?

In Texas, there is legislation that mandates who can make decisions regarding the disposal of your body and your funeral arrangements when you die. The following list explains who will have the right and responsibility to make decisions after your death. This duty is passed to the following people, in sequential order:

  • the person or agent you name in a written document or will prepared before your death

  • any surviving legal spouse or partner

  • any one of your surviving adult children

  • either of your parents, or

  • any adult next of kin (must be in the order acknowledged by law to inherit the estate)

Using A Will For Burial Wishes

While simply naming a representative to handle your funeral arrangements in your will is important, you can go one step further and inform your survivors of the type of funeral arrangements you desire. In these arrangements, you can include the type of ceremony and if you would like to be cremated or buried. Done this way, you will save your family from having to make the difficult decisions during an obviously stressful and emotional period.

Writing Down Your Final Wishes

If you do not have a will, you can include detailed instructions on the same document that names the person responsible for making arrangements. Even if you don't name the individual, you can simply jot down your final wishes for burial on a separate document. However, it is important for you to date and sign the document in front of a notary public. When you do so, the entity in charge of your body is responsible for carrying out your wishes to the full extent of the responsible party's or the estate's financial ability.

Although no one likes to talk about making funeral arrangements and wills, it's best to have the discussion while you still can. Most people find comfort in having this uncomfortable discussion with legal professionals experienced in Texas probate law. For more information about probate law or final wills and testaments, contact Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo Texas.

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photo credit: Cam Miller 2015 via photopin cc

Topics: Estate Planning