Many people say that they don’t care what happens to their body upon death. However, for many surviving family members, whether their loved one is buried or cremated and where the remains or ashes go can be a hotly contested issue.
Often, people will put their wishes regarding burial or cremation in their Wills. However, in many cases the Will is not found or read until the funeral services are over. Fortunately, New York law allows New Yorkers to appoint an agent to control the disposition of remains. If a person fails to do that, New York law appoints a list of people who legally have the right to control the disposition of your remains.
The primary person is the surviving spouse, followed by a surviving domestic partner, any surviving children who are over 18, either of the surviving parents, any of the surviving siblings who are over 18, a guardian of the court, and if none of those people are living, the fiduciary of the estate.
The burial form allows you to indicate whether you have completed an agreement with a funeral home. If you choose to complete the form, it should be kept in a safe place in your home along with your other important papers that give others the right to make decisions for you, such as your living will, health care proxy and durable power of attorney.
Although your final arrangements may not be very important to you (although they may be), in order to make an extremely difficult time easier on your loved ones, it’s important that you make your wishes known. Your family members may not be aware that you want to be buried next to your parents or that you wish your ashes sprinkled in the Atlantic Ocean.
If you haven’t done a Will, durable power of attorney, living will or health care proxy, call the New York Estate Planning Attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you put documents in place that will protect you as well as your loved ones.