3 Common Misconceptions About Cremation, That Could Make It Next To Impossible
So don’t even get me started on the term ‘simple’ cremation. Society – through no fault of its own – is under a false belief that cremation is quick, simple, and easy. This is not a true statement. In fact, cremation is one of the most regulated areas of deathcare. OK, I guess I got started.
What makes this even more complicated? Most people, funeral directors and attorneys included, have misconceptions about cremation. These misconceptions can lead to big problems. The following are just a few of the most common, and potentially the most problematic, issues.
I put my wishes of a cremation in my will.
So what! People have a false security when it comes to putting funeral wishes – cremation specifically –in their will. The fact is that almost every state either does not recognize the executor as the person with the right to control your final disposition, or does not even list them in as having the right to control your funeral! (Only Illinois and Colorado specifically list an executor as someone with the right of disposition.)
I’ll just let my kids handle it.
Great idea – except, what happens if they don’t agree; or if they’re miles apart? Many states require all of the children or at least the majority to sign a cremation authorization form. This means that when you die, if you have 4 kids – at least 3 will have to get to the funeral home to sign the paperwork. And, if just one child says, I don’t wan this to happen – then the funeral home may just say we have to wait.
I have a POA – so I can handle everything.
Nope. Wrong again. POA (Power of attorney) ends at death and very few states have a provision that allows the POA to handle funeral arrangements. Even the few states that allow this typically have language that requires specific wording to handle and authorize a cremation. (Only 7 states list POA as having the right to handle final disposition and it’s usually not the top of the list.)
So what do you do?
Well there is one thing you can do that is simple, and will prevent all these issues. Almost every state has some form of a declaration or appointment of agent form. (Every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Michigan allow an individual to appoint someone to handle their funeral.) This form allows an individual to specifically appoint ANYONE to handle their funeral arrangements – including cremation.
Keep in mind; this is not part of a will. This form can be done by anyone on their own, prior to their death. Once done, you should give the form to the person you appoint, and even give a copy to the funeral home you want to handle the arrangements.
Get it done today!
Free sample of your states form - type the code ‘GYST2016’ at the checkout.
Start your will today while you are at it.
Article contributed by Poul Lemasters, Funeral Director, Embalmer, Attorney.