If my family knows I want cremation, is that all I need to do in advance? No. Just stating your wishes will not necessarily assure that they will be honored. To assure this and to prevent your survivors from having to make decisions and arrangements at the time of your death, you can choose a cremation provider and prearrange your cremation.
The cremation provider can also keep the personal data and authorizations which will be required for your death certificate, so that your survivors will not have to be asked for this information during an emotional time. You may also prepay the expenses of your cremation if allowed by state law. In families where there are conflicting views regarding final arrangements, your funeral director introduces the family to two stages of planning.
- First, materials are provided to the decedent-to-be so he or she can be knowledgeable in discussions with family members.
- Secondly, if the conflict cannot be resolved and further discussions are considered futile, the person for whom arrangements are being made is advised to proceed with their wishes under the careful guidance of their funeral director.
When conflicts continue or arise after death has occurred and there are no documents left by the decedent which meet state requirements, courts are the last resort. Each state establishes the parties who can authorize a cremation. The area where conflict may arise is among children and other relatives. Clear and firm documentation of a decedent's wishes for final arrangements is the best way to avoid family conflicts.