I watched Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral with high interest, finding it a fascinating historical event, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. By all accounts, the Queen was highly engaged in all aspects of planning the elaborate events of the ten days of mourning, including requesting that two of her beloved corgis, Muick and Sandy, and her pony, Emma, be on hand to bid her a final farewell.

What about you? Your desired memorial service may not include thousands of mourners, a national holiday, and countless heads of state and royal family members in attendance. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spell out the details in terms of your memorial and the disposition of your remains.

The best way to articulate your wishes is to work with your attorney to develop Memorial Instructions as part of your estate planning. RCW 68.50.160 provides the statutory authority for this document. You can designate an agent to be in charge of your arrangements and as many alternates as you wish. You can choose whether your remains should be disposed of via burial, cremation, compost, or aquamation. And you can provide information about the type of service you would prefer, if any, including the location where the service will be held, who will speak at your service, any readings, and any other details you wish to include.

By proactively making these choices, you take the burden of making this myriad of options from grieving family and friends. They will know precisely what you would have wanted because you spelled it out.  And although it may seem morbid to some, to others, the process may be both clarifying and comforting.

Although perhaps your memorial service may not be quite as extensive as Queen Elizabeth II’s, it will reflect your wishes and values. Do you need help drafting Memorial Instructions? We’d be happy to assist.

This post is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting with an attorney.

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