Ruth-Ann E. Toups
Why You Need an Agent for Disposition of Remains
One of the most important estate planning documents you may have never heard of is an appointment for disposition of remains. This is a document that appoints a person who will be in charge of handling the disposition of your remains when you pass away. Your agent will oversee honoring your burial or cremation wishes.
The disposition of remains document serves several important purposes. First, it can be a way to share, in writing, your desires for your remains. My clients often say, “my kids know what I want, my kids should know, I’ve talked about it before.” That may be true, but how often do we remember things that are important to us and have a hard time recalling details about what is important to our loved ones? It also will inevitably be an emotional time. This document clearly lays out your wishes. So, there is no guessing, no major decision making, and no fighting when it comes to your family carrying out your last wishes.
Speaking of fighting, that is another critical role the disposition of remains document can play. If you have three children and all three children do not agree on what should happen to your body when you pass away this can present quite a dilemma. In some cases, your family might even be forced to involve a court in the decision about your remains. The disposition of remains document takes that issue away by naming a singular agent, with back ups of course, to be the final authority on what will happen with your body.
This is often not a fun document to consider. However, it is a critical piece of your estate plan to remove any second guessing or fighting over your burial or cremation.