Who is in Charge After Death for Burial?

When it comes time to think about your estate planning, there are plenty of awkward questions you will have to consider. One of the most uncomfortable questions is, “What will happen to my body when I die?” While you have the time and opportunity today to make that decision, you still need to put someone in charge of making sure your wishes happen, and this needs to be done legally.

After you pass, someone needs to be in charge of what happens to your physical body. This designated person is the one who will manage the disposition of your remains, see to any autopsies that need to take place, and schedule any other actions that may be required with your body during this difficult time for your loved ones. This role can go to a family member or close friend, but make sure you choose someone who is going to be comfortable with this position. This may not be the best job for someone who you know will not be emotionally stable enough to deal with it. 

Once you choose the person you want to leave in charge of these tasks, you will need to include them in a healthcare power of attorney. A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that lets you give permission to someone to make healthcare decisions for you. This kind of power of attorney kicks in when your primary care physician decides you are no longer physically capable of making sound decisions for your health. You also have the option to specify in the document if you would like this person to make decisions for you now, even if you are capable of doing so on your own. 

If you pass away without having a healthcare power of attorney in place, the law will step in to appoint someone for you. Usually, they will just assign whoever is next in line to you. For example, this could be a spouse, a parent, or a sibling. It really just depends on what your situation was and who you have in your life at the time of your death. It can be totally fine, or it can be a gamble. That is why it is a smart move to go ahead and choose someone today while it is on your mind. A healthcare power of attorney is not a long document, and it can easily be created with a trusted attorney. A little bit of your time today could save your friends and family from additional stress and anguish later. 

Your next step is to join our facebook group called “Parents Protecting Assets in California”. We provide valuable information on protecting assets from future in-laws and creditors!