Have you discussed what you want done with your remains after your death with your loved ones? Many people find this topic a little morbid and difficult to talk about. For some, what happens to their body after they die is decided by their religious beliefs and values. For others, it simply doesn’t matter. Some people never think about it until they are asked about it. In Washington, we all have the right to direct how our remains are handled after we die. Whether you want to be buried, cremated, buried in a mushroom suit, or donated to science, your estate plan can be a springboard used to discuss your wishes with your loved ones. Discussing death is uncomfortable, but knowing your plans are being followed may make things easier for your loved ones after you pass away.
When I create a set of estate documents, I like to ask my clients if they would like to include instructions about what to do with their remains and any wishes concerning memorial services. It can be written into a will, an advance directive, or as a separate document. Sometimes, clients are confident that their wishes are already known and do not feel the need to have them written down. Others do not want to discuss the topic with their family and prefer to leave instructions with their will. Some families refuse to listen when their loved one tries to discuss their death, and this is the most comfortable way for them to express their wishes. There are no correct answers to this question. As an attorney, it is my job to find out what best serves each of my clients on an individual level. This discussion is just one of the ways I tailor my services to craft an estate plan that addresses not only the legal needs of my clients, but their values and wishes as well.