Final Arrangements FAQ

Why not use my will to leave instructions for my final ceremonies and the disposition of my body?

A will is not a good place to express your death and burial preferences for one simple reason: Your will might not be located and read until several weeks after you die -- long after decisions must be made. A will should be reserved for directions on how to divide and distribute your property and, if applicable, who should get care and custody of your children if you die while they're still young.

In almost all states, you can use your health care directive or another written document to express your wishes for final arrangements and name a person to carry them out. Just two states -- New Jersey and New Mexico -- require that you name this person in your will.

For more information, see Making Funeral Arrangements in Your State.

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