Whether you don’t want your family to be left questioning how they should honor your memory or you want to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, make sure your final wishes are respected when your time comes. This can pose some challenges.
Sometimes loved ones won’t fully understand your final wishes. At other times, they might disagree with some of your decisions. So how can you make sure your loved ones honor them? Let’s take a look at what final wishes can include, and some ways you can increase the chances your wishes are respected.
What Are Final Wishes?
Final wishes are decisions and requests you have related to your end-of-life treatment. This can include:
- Your preferred type of funeral or memorial service
- Whether you prefer burial or cremation
- Where you would like to be buried or where you would like your ashes stored or scattered
- Specific elements of your funeral service (music, flowers, readings, etc.)
- Information you would like to have included in your obituary
- Wishes you have relating to how your children should be raised if they’re minors at the time of your passing
Three Ways to Ensure Your Final Wishes Are Respected
While your final wishes aren’t guaranteed or legally enforceable, here are three things you can do now to increase the chances your loved ones will follow them.
Put Your Final Wishes in Writing
It’s important that your final wishes be in writing. This should be separate from your will, as family members might not even see your will before funeral plans are made. Having your final wishes in writing ensures you’ve covered the details. An elder attorney or any attorney who is helping with your will can assist with this, but this isn’t necessary. You can use online forms to guide you, or you can work through them with a trusted individual since they aren’t legal documents.
Discuss Your Final Wishes with Loved Ones in Advance
After you’ve written your final wishes, make sure loved ones know where they can be found. You might even print copies for those most likely to handle arrangements on your behalf. Go further than that and actually talk about your final wishes with your family. This way you can avoid any misunderstandings and answer questions or concerns they might have to minimize objections later.
Make Funeral Arrangements Yourself
If you’re in a position to do so, perhaps the best way to ensure your final wishes are respected is to contact funeral homes or cremation providers to pre-arrange your funeral. This way there won’t be any question as to what you want, it can already be paid for, and you won’t have to rely on grieving loved ones to remember and honor your plans. You can pre-plan everything from choosing your funeral director to securing your cemetery plot.
A little pre-planning now will let your family know exactly what you want in the end. Don’t put off discussing your final wishes with them until it’s too late.
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