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Should you put funeral instructions in a will?

You have an idea of what you want your funeral to be like. Maybe it's just a general overall structure, or maybe you have the specifics planned out right down to who should speak and what time of the day the funeral should take place.

Either way, you may be considering just adding your funeral instructions to your will. After all, your will is a legally binding documents, so, unless the instructions include something illegal, you know they'll be followed and your funeral will look just the way you planned.

While you can put your funeral instructions in a will if you desire, experts actually suggest that you don't do so. The problem is simply with the order of events. Settling your estate may take time. This is especially true if the will is contested or if there are complicated provisions.

The funeral, on the other hand, typically happens within a few days. It's the first thing the family addresses. After you've been laid to rest, then they turn to the will and begin dividing property. If your instructions are just in the will, they may not even find them until the ceremony has already happened.

It's often better to create a separate documents just to detail your desires for the funeral. Then work with the person who will be executing the estate, telling him or her to consider that document before the will. Additionally, you can simply have a conversation with your loved ones and tell them what you'd like the funeral to be like so that they're all on the same page.

While doing your end-of-life planning, regardless of your age, always be sure you know what should and should not be included in each legal document and how to address any potential issues in advance.

Source: FindLaw, "What Not To Include When Making a Will," accessed May 12, 2017

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