The deceased’s wishes for burial or cremation.

By law, a deceased person must be buried or cremated. The latter involves using extreme heat and processing to turn the body into coarse sand-like ashes. 

Not all wills cover details relating to burial or cremation, or the funeral service. Some do. Your loved one’s particular wishes for their funeral or memorial service won’t be binding, even if they put them in their will. 

But their preference, if expressed in a will, for burial or cremation is legally binding — except if following it would be unreasonable, impracticable, or cause hardship. The same applies if the preference is noted in a contract for cemetery or funeral services. But if the preference is expressed in any other way — such as through a letter or by telling a loved one — it’s not legally binding.

Even if a preference isn’t legally binding, arrangements should respect the deceased’s wishes when possible.

1 Comment on “The deceased’s wishes for burial or cremation.

  1. The best way to let your loved ones know about your funeral wishes is to write down a list of specific instructions in a document that is separate from your will or trust. This separate writing should include details about what should and should not be done so your family doesn’t have to second guess what you would have wanted to happen.

    The type of information to record in your final arrangements document includes:

    Whether you want a funeral or memorial service
    Where the service should be held
    Who should be specifically notified of your death
    Whether you want to be cremated or buried
    Where you would like your ashes stored or disposed of or where you want to be buried
    If you have money set aside to pay for your final expenses and where it is

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