If I specify my funeral wishes in a Will is it legally binding?

UPDATED: Jul 31, 2011

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If I specify my funeral wishes in a Will is it legally binding?

I am terminally ill and we do not have alot of money, but when I pass away I would like to have a service where friends and family can pay their final respects. Although due to limited monies my parents have told me that they cannot afford any kind of a funeral for me and will just privately deal with my remains (probably cremation and do something with my ashes). However this is not what I want. If I put my last wishes in Will is that legaly binding? How can I insure that I’m not just scattered in the ocean or something?

Asked on July 31, 2011 New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I caution you about setting forth your wishes for a funeral solely in a Will. Sometimes one's Will is not found or read for some time after one's passing where the wishes in the Will have not been carried out when read.

You should have a discussion with family member and friends about your desires for your funeral, write down the wishes, and give copies to those people who you believe will carry them out.

You should also make arrangements with a funeral home beforehand.

Unfortunately, if those who your trusted to carry out your funeral instructions do not, there is nothing you can do about it. Funeral wishes that you desire are not legally binding. They are requests that can be followed or not.


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