What happens to your remains when you die? What if you are not married and have no children? Who gets to determine what happens to your remains? What if your children don’t get along and you know they won’t agree on how to handle your remains and funeral arrangements? What if you know one of your family members, perhaps and adult child, would not honor your wishes with respect to your remains?

Not everyone has these concerns. Most people have no doubt that their family members will honor their wishes with regards to their funeral arrangements. Some people even prepay a funeral home for their funeral, making most arrangements in advance, themselves. But what if you are one of the people that just don’t trust one of your family members to do the right thing? You know one person that will honor your wishes and you want that person to be in charge of your funeral.

Most people assume that the person that they named as Executor of their Last Will and Testament has the power to make decisions with regards to their funeral. Unfortunately, most Last Will and Testament’s haven’t ben recorded before the funeral and most Executor’s have not been appointed before the funeral. This leaves a problem for the funeral home if you have two adult children giving them opposite instructions. Imagine one child telling the funeral home to cremate and the other is directing them to bury your body. Who does the funeral home listen to?       

The Virginia Code states, “§ 54.1-2825. Person to make arrangements for funeral and disposition of remains. A. Any person may designate in a signed and notarized writing, which has been accepted in writing by the person so designated, an individual who shall make arrangements and be otherwise responsible for his funeral and the disposition of his remains, including cremation, interment, entombment, or memorialization, or some combination thereof, upon his death.”

Your estate planning attorney can help you draft and execute a document that will instruct the funeral home to accept direction from the one person that you trust to honor your wishes with regards to your funeral arrangements. If you are concerned about who may make decisions about your funeral arrangements, then the attorneys at John W. Lee, PC can assist you with preparing the proper forms to ensure your final wishes are complied with.

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