Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cremation Isn't a One-Step Estate Planning Decision

There has been a rapid shift in preference from traditional burial in a casket to cremation, David Ring, president of Indiana Funeral Care, points out in Senior Life. But then what? Do you want your cremains:
  • buried in a cemetery close to relatives?
  • scattered at a place special to you and to family members?
What about a service? Ring asks.  Family members and friends will want to recognize and celebrate your life. Options include:
  • a traditional funeral with a casket, with cremation to follow
  • memorial service with your favorite songs, recognition of your favorite hobbies
“Discuss your preferences with your family so your remains don’t end up abandoned at a funeral home,” Ring advises. People who make pre-arrangements make wiser decisions and spend less money, earning the gratitude of survivors.

At Geyer Law, where we guide clients in developing their estate plans, we know just how important advance planning to those clients’ survivors. Our work in estate administration involves the legal process of transferring assets from the name of the diseased person to those inheriting the assets.  In settling the estate and administering trusts we find ourselves working with:
  • executors
  • personal representatives
  • trustees
  • beneficiaries
The goal, of course, is to resolve all matters as promptly as possible and to minimize stress at an already difficult time. The more a client’s wishes have been made clear while living, the better.

Often, our attorneys find, individuals do not know where to begin when someone dies. We provide full-service estate administration services to guide families through the process from start to finish. There’s a lot to do, including:
  • commencing probate proceedings
  • dealing with the valuation and taxation of property interests
  • assisting with the evaluation and orderly payment of claims
  • preparing inheritance tax returns
  • closing the estate
If some of the “simpler” decisions about burial or cremation have been made clear before death, that can obviously go a long way towards easing the burden of estate settlement on those left behind.

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