A common way that creating a will overlaps with probate administration is in the directions you leave behind for your executor. Often, I meet with clients and they have a specific set of wishes. They want certain assets to go to certain people. We need to put together a trust for their grandchildren. But often, they have not thought about any funeral arrangements and choose to leave that information out of the documents.
But if you don’t put that information in your documents, who will know that you prepaid for the expenses? The funeral home or the cemetery have already been paid, so they have no incentive to do anything further until they are contacted.
In Your Will
You aren’t required to put funeral arrangements in your will. Many people don’t put that information in. But it can make sense to arrange for a family burial plot ahead of time. Or some people choose what funeral home they would like to use and pre-pay their funeral expenses. The common confusion I encounter is when these are done, but no one else knows about it. And if you don’t put the information in your will, then how will people know?
Information for Your Executor
If you aren’t going to put funeral instructions in your will, then how will your executor know what to do? This can be common if you haven’t thought about funeral arrangements. Don’t feel bad, many people haven’t. But if you have particular wishes, then someone else needs to know. You can go the sit-com route of pre-drafting your obituary and have it filed with the local paper ahead of time. But an easier solution is to assemble the information for your executor in a convenient place.
How I Can Help
After encountering this situation enough times, I worked with a variety of my trusted partners and we created the My Personal Planning Essentials checklist. Our final section includes space for you to fill out information regarding your preferred funeral home and if you have prepaid for your funeral or a burial plot. The checklist is meant to be kept with your important documents. In case of an emergency, your loved ones have a list of important people to contact and a roadmap of what documents they should be searching for. By including provisions for your funeral arrangements, you can guard against your relatives accidentally paying for a funeral twice or having you buried in the wrong burial plot.
If you’d like a copy of the checklist, it’s a free download, and you can click the image or click here.