From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My husband died many years ago and is buried in Florida. I moved back to New York and plan to die a New Yorker. It is important to me that at my death I am buried here in New York. The problem is that my only son is my executor and he wants to bury me with my husband in Florida. I feel that after I die he will not respect my wishes. How do I make sure my wishes are respected?
New York gives you the power to nominate a person in your will who controls all aspects of your funeral arrangements and internment. It is important in your case to utilize that power, otherwise at your death your son as executor and as the only child will have complete control.
This nomination will take some careful thought, as this person will have the legal authority to trump your son’s objections, but you can imagine that it will be an uncomfortable situation. You need the right person for the job. If I were drafting your will, I would add in that same paragraph all the specific wishes you have surrounding your arrangements, such as a memorial service, location and making sure that the costs are paid for.
Remember, if your son is the executor he will control all the funds, so he could refuse to pay for the New York funeral, which could lead to unnecessary expensive litigation. You might consider naming someone else executor if your son continues to refuse to carry out your wishes.