You should choose your own funeral arrangements.
How do you want to be remembered when you die?
Do you feel strongly about burial or cremation?
If you live in Michigan, this could be an issue.
According to a recent Detroit Free Press article titled “Law helps ensure your family follows your funeral wishes in Michigan,” Michigan law formerly allowed for family members to overturn your funeral wishes.
The case cited in the article is illustrative of this problem, but a recent Michigan law has been created to help mitigate this issue.
What does it do?
It allows for you to name a "funeral representative" to make the final decisions on your funeral arrangements and final resting place.
This two-year-old law can help prevent discord in a family if a representative is named.
The representative agrees that he or she is aware of the responsibility given them.
This responsibility involves caring out your funeral as well as making sure funeral expenses are paid in full.
How do you designate an such individual?
You can name your agent in your last will or in your advance health care directive.
[The latter means is how we approach this in our practice for our Kansas and Missouri clients.]
You can also provide for a funeral representative in separate document, as long as the document has been notarized or has two witnesses.
Funeral homes in Michigan should also have a document through which you can designate a funeral representative.
Are there individuals who are unable to be named as a representative?
Who are they?
These include licensed health care professionals, any officer or employee of a funeral home, an employee of aveterans facility where you received care, and anyone charged with murdering you.
I really find that last one interesting, to say the least.
Are there exceptions?
You may be granted an exception if one of the above was a family member (but I am not sure about that "murdering" part).
Can you change or repeal this authority?
You must give written notice witnessed by two individuals or a notarized, although why not cover the bases and have the document both witnessed and notarized?
The law can also automatically remove the responsibility from an ex-spouse.
Whether you live in Michigan or elsewhere, you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney about your final wishes and reduce them to writing without delay.
Reference: Detroit Free Press (November 2, 2018) “Law helps ensure your family follows your funeral wishes in Michigan”