From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: It is important to me that at my death I am cremated. I find the idea of a being buried in a casket ridiculous. The problem is that my wife will not carry out this wish. She wants us buried next to each other in her New Jersey family plot. How do I make sure my wishes are respected?
If you do not make any specific statement about final burial arrangements in your will, then the matter could end up in litigation-with your wife’s opinion being the one that the court finally enforces.
To avoid all of this conflict and expense, New Jersey allows you to name a specific person who has the legal authority to make your arrangements. This person would then have the legal authority to trump any objections your wife would make.
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, military honors and making sure that the costs are paid for. I would also make sure that you nominate a person who will be able to stand up to your wife’s objections. Remember, if all your accounts are joint, then your wife will have all the money at your death. Your estate plan needs to have enough funds set aside to make sure your cremation is paid for in case your wife refuses to pay for that bill.