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Final arrangement plans need not be included in will

People in Nevada who are putting their wills together sometimes wonder whether or not the document should address the handling of their final arrangements. While it was once commonplace to include funeral instructions or other plans for final arrangements in the will, it is becoming less common.

Final instructions that are included in the will are generally enforceable, but the potential problem is that the decedent has been laid to rest by the time the family gets around to finding the will. Many people are including Funeral Planning Declarations in their estate plans to give someone the legal authority to make his or her final arrangements. The person who establishes the FPD can choose to include instructions about the specifics of the final arrangements.

Another option is to use a power of attorney to handle final arrangements. Typically, the legal authorities granted by a power of attorney end on the death of the principal, but one power that may survive the principal's death is the authority to dispose of his or her remains. A POA may include instructions for the person granted authority.

Individuals who prefer to handle final arrangements outside of their estate plans can pre-plan with a funeral director or funeral home. Instructions left in this way will not have the legal enforcement advantages of a will. As with most estate planning matters, a bit of forethought about final arrangements often goes a long way for simplicity and peace of mind.

An attorney with experience in estate planning law may be able to help in a case where a person wants to ensure his or her final arrangement plans are followed. An attorney might examine the person's situation and provide advice regarding the potential usefulness of funeral planning declarations, powers of attorney and other estate planning instruments.

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