OPTIONS FOR DISPOSAL OF YOUR EARTHLY REMAINS
by Ed Montigny
When you name an executor – you are also identifying the person who will have legal control over your body and authority to dispose of your remains. It is important therefore that the person you name as your executor understands your wishes when it comes to what to do with your earthly remains.
Also remember that while you can put instructions in your Will, you cannot always guarantee that your Will will be found in time for the wishes outlined in it to be of any use – it is best that your executor know your wishes in advance.
You can either inform your executor – or you can leave a set of written instructions – just make sure that your executor can find them quickly.
Until relatively recently, it was generally assumed that there was a limited number of options for burial – and generally, as these options varied by religion, it was assumed that people wished to be buried according to the customs of their church or ethnic community.
There were also local laws that often restricted burial choices. Even where there were no legal barriers to alternative forms of burial, it was usually a major task to find a cemetery or service willing to accommodate more alternative choices.
For all these reasons, instructing others on what you want down with your remains, was not a major issue – Now that a much wider range of options is becoming available, it is far more important to ensure that your family and executor understand what you want.
While not every option is readily available in every location, it is now possible to chose from a wide range of burial options. While people have had the option of burial or cremation for some time, there are now options within each of these choices.
Burial can be with or without embalming, with or without a casket, and certain natural or green burial grounds are available.
There are new and emerging options for cremation as well – techniques such as “bio or water cremation”.
With cremation, there are in ground and above burial options, as well as a variety of legal means to have ashes scattered in certain locations.
You can even have ashes turned into “diamonds”.
All these are very personal choices. In some cases lower costs may be a consideration.
Natural or chemical free burials may appeal to people concerned about their environmental footprint.
If you have specific concerns and wishes with regard to the disposal of your body – it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer to determine how to legally accomplish your goals and how to best ensure your wishes are known and followed when the time comes.
Another way to ensure your wishes are followed is to pre-plan or pre-pay for a funeral. For a price, you can have you wishes recorded with a guarantee that they will be followed.
While there are certain advantages to pr-paid funerals – and there are laws in place to protect customers who pay for a funeral in advance – nevertheless be careful. Pre-paid funerals can be costly and disputes can arise as to what was offered and whether extra costs will charged to your estate after death.