A final disposition document details one’s funeral arrangements and what to do with a person’s body in the event of their death. This is an essential estate planning tool that can be given to loved ones, who may be faced with complicated choices in the wake of the death of a loved one.

A final disposition document should not be put in a will, as a will may not always be readily available. The document should instead be given to someone or placed where it can be easily and quickly be accessed. 

What Happens If There Is No Final Disposition Document?

If there is no final disposition document, state law will determine who will decide how the remains will be handled. Generally, the order is as follows:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Next of kin
  • Public administrator

What Should Be Included in the Final Disposition Document?

In a final disposition document, you should detail all of the necessary items to help your loved ones meet your wishes, like:

  • Name of the funeral home
  • Type of casket
  • Desire to be embalmed
  • Details of the funeral ceremony
  • Whether remains should be buried or scattered
  • How the remains should be transported 

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Although a lawyer is not always necessary to draft a final disposition document, estate lawyer is a difficult task. Speaking with an estate lawyer while planning can provide invaluable assistance in all aspects of your future arrangements.