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Planning Your Final Arrangements

Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 3:50PM

When someone dies, there are numerous tasks that must be completed, which can sometimes be a burden on family members during such a difficult time. A person can be proactive by planning andpaying for his/her final arrangements while still alive. This reduces the burden on family members,and assures that your wishes are carried out.

After a person dies, Florida law determines who can make decisions, in the following order: (1) you,if there are written directions before your death; (2) your surviving spouse; (3) your adult children;(4) your parents; (5) your siblings; (6) your grandchildren; (7) your grandparents; (8) any person in the next degree of kinship. F.S. §497.005.

Statistics show that the median cost of a funeral with casket is $7,000, and for cremation between$500 and $3,500. This does not include any other expenses such as flowers or obituaries. There are two options for funeral payment: (1) pre-paid arrangements or (2) set funds aside. Otherwise, surviving family members will then be responsible for payment.

If your family members have different wishes than you or do not agree about how to dispose of your remains, having written directions in a Will would take precedence. Any person may carry out written instructions of the decedent relating to the decedent's body and funeral arrangements. The fact that cremation occurred pursuant to a written direction signed by the decedent that the body be cremated is a complete defense to a cause of action against any person acting or relying on that direction. F.S. §732.804. It is important to note that a funeral home or cremation organization willnot cremate, even with a signed document, without permission from next-of-kin, unless you have pre-arranged with the funeral home or society. This is not based on law, but fear of lawsuits.

When speaking with an attorney to address your estate planning needs, be sure to discuss your final arrangement wishes.

Planning Your Final Arrangements

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