One aspect of creating an Orange County estate plan that is sometimes overlooked is planning for your funeral and burial services. It is important to take your funeral plans into consideration when crafting your plan because your loved ones may not be aware of what you would like done. Further, planning ahead can sometimes provide a significant cost savings. Planning your funeral as part of your estate plan also helps take some of the emotional burden off your loved ones.

What things should you consider as you arrange for your funeral while creating an estate plan in Orange County? The following are six examples:

  1. If you prefer cremation, this process is subject to certain state and local laws. Consult with your local laws and an experienced attorney to ensure that your wishes are permissible.
  2. Consider obtaining a life insurance policy to pay for the costs of the funeral. If your estate may face an estate tax, the policy can be structured so that the proceeds are not includable in your estate for tax purposes.
  3. Consider setting up a separate bank account specifically for paying the costs of your funeral.
  4. Consider pre-paying for your funeral if possible. However, it is important to note that the amount you paid may not keep pace with inflation. Similarly, if you move or later change your mind about your arrangements, you may not be able to get your money back. There is also the risk of the funeral home going out of business or changing ownership.
  5. Consider creating a memorandum of your funeral wishes for your loved ones. Think about such details as the type of ceremony that you would like, whether you would like pallbearers, and whether you want any sort of marker, such as a tombstone.
  6. It may be unadvisable to include your funeral instructions in your will. The reasoning behind this is that the will might not be read until after you are already buried.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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