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What to do if you do not want a funeral
Old 07-01-2008, 02:03 AM   #1
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What to do if you do not want a funeral

I'm still relatively young but I have seen a few people my age die in the last few years and it got me thinking.

If I die suddenly like in a car crash or just in my sleep I really don't want my family wasting their money on a funeral or a wake for me.

I would rather they keep the money and do something useful with it. I don't have a big ego and wouldn't care if you leave me in a ditch like roadkill when I'm gone. (I would be impressed if you know what song that last part is from!!)

I have told my family that I do not want any funeral services if I die but I wanted to make sure that they didn't.

Just wondering what I need to do? Do I put that in a will or is there some other way to make sure that your wish is carried out?

Thanks

Jim
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:00 AM   #2
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While a funeral service is dedicated to someone specific, it's more for others to gain closure and move on. It's their choice, and I think you'll find that they will prefer to have a funeral to honor you. Let them have their rites.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:13 AM   #3
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I think leaving you in a ditch might be illegal in some places
How about donating your body to science?
Many organisations will be happy to take care of former you.
For example: Anatomy Gifts Registry, which provides an immediate, free cremation immediately following the procurement of tissues for Medical Science and Education / Research. Anatomy Gifts Registry
Most of the places like that will also advise you what's the best course of action in your state as far as making sure your wishes are carried out.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:24 AM   #4
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As Neongreen stated, funerals are for the living, not the dead. After you're gone, you won't care. I do agree with you that the amount of money spent on funerals borders on the obscene, and I have directed my family to have me cremated, which is much more cost effective. If they would like to have a small service, I'm OK with that, just don't spend a lot of money doing it.

Cremation does two things for those you leave behind, in my opinion. It is cost effective compared to a traditional burial, and it removes all the urgency from the situation so that those you leave behind can think and plan without being pressured. As an example, if they want to wait a month to have your service, it's not a problem.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:57 AM   #5
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Letter of instructions to the person what will close out your records? My (letter) plan is for a Cremation (and shipment of the ashes to Arlington). If they want a memorial service then can have it.
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:44 AM   #6
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My wife and I have powers of attorney for each other, health care directives and wills, plus we've had a frank discussion with each other and each other's family about what our wishes are.

I'm also an organ donor and have made it clear that I want them to take what they can and burn the rest.

All that said, you can't force your family to follow every wish. But, on the plus side, you'll be dead so odds are you won't really care.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:03 AM   #7
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:35 AM   #8
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My suggestion is to prepare a letter where you tell your family that you love them very much and suggest that at your passing they celebrate your life by ... then discuss what you do and don't want. Start out with your comment: "I have seen a few people my age die in the last few years and it got me thinking." Give that letter to your family leader, and discuss it with them. Do the same for a couple others who you think might inject themselves into the situation.

My take is that you don't want a fancy funeral - say so. Maybe a small private service at their church would work (this is for the survivors after all). If you believe that your soul has moved on after death tell them that you don't want your body to be present (which removes a lot of the incentive to buy a fancy casket and dress you to the 9s).

Don't make the focus on the money, make it about who you are and what you value. If you can do so with humor, and it is consistent with your belief system, tell them that your soul will hang for a while to make sure that your wishes are honored.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:07 AM   #9
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Do I put that in a will or is there some other way to make sure that your wish is carried out?
The limitation that putting it in your will is that the will is often not read until the deceased is buried. I suggest advising all of those close to you, as well as the pastor of the church that you may attend, of your wishes. As mentioned earlier, funerals and memorial services are really for those that you leave behind not for the dear departed.
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:17 AM   #10
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USAA (and other insurance companies) provide a booklet you can fill out giving all of the important information your survivors would need - of course you have to take the time to fill it out, KEEP IT UP TO DATE and they have to know where it is and look for it at the appropriate time. Seems to be a prudent thing for anyone to get in the habit of doing at any age - otherwise your survivors may do things that are not in their best interest and against your wishes (even tho you have no control at that point).
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Old 07-01-2008, 12:13 PM   #11
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I would rather they keep the money and do something useful with it. I don't have a big ego and wouldn't care if you leave me in a ditch like roadkill when I'm gone. (I would be impressed if you know what song that last part is from!!)
People generally leave a letter with their powers of attorney and other "emergency" papers & will. It doesn't necessarily carry the weight of a POA or a will but you can explain what you want and why.

Personally we favor composting, but apparently that gets the civil authorities all upset if it's not handled correctly. So we've agreed to donate organs and whatever's left over will go to medical science. If medical science doesn't want our remains (for example, not enough left over after transplants) then cremation is probably cheapest.

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I have told my family that I do not want any funeral services if I die but I wanted to make sure that they didn't.
Just like the thread on trusts, you're dead. I'm not aware of any way to make sure that there's no funeral services. You could pay someone to make sure, but how would you know that they didn't just take your money and not do the job?

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Originally Posted by summer2007 View Post
Just wondering what I need to do? Do I put that in a will or is there some other way to make sure that your wish is carried out?
If you don't want your estate to spend money on funeral services then that's best put in a will by directing your executor not to spend any money from your estate. But as has been mentioned, frequently it's too late by the time the will is read.

Usually the problem is upselling on collective family guilt when disposing of your remains. If the dissenting family kvetches about the expenses they're accused of being mercenary about their inheritance. So hopefully a "preferences letter" among your papers, and maybe even copies to your executor & immediate family, can avoid the emotional minefields & misunderstandings.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:36 PM   #12
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I think it is a really bad idea to try to control people after you are dead. Like someone said above, the purpose of death rites is to help those who loved you cope with your death .

Ha
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:11 PM   #13
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no funeral? yikes. i'll be throwing a party at the mausoleum i'm having built on those 80 plots i inherited. nothing too fancy but beautiful, rising dirgelike out of the dirt. i've already lined up the caterers and you're all invited to the party, um, er, funeral (well, except for those who plan to dance on my grave--not invited).

ok, well, probably i'll do something simpler but i plan to be just as annoying after life as i was during. i want my body flown back to new jersey to be buried near mom. i think my plots are just a short walk from hers. mom got front & center right by the obelisk...the privileges of dying first.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:20 PM   #14
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My mother's husband just died a couple of weeks ago. They didn't want a funeral, so they just did the organ donation, cremation, and an urn. Total came to under $2800. No announcements, since she is now living alone in the country and doesn't want people to know it. It will be noted in an Army publication, but not locally.

I thought they were crazy, since the funeral is like a last chance to gather and remember, and it's what everyone else I've known has had. But this was so low key and non-unpleasant I'm rethinking my plans. However, I still like the idea of being laid on a pyre on a replica viking ship and pushed out to sea.

Harley
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:29 PM   #15
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I would rather not have a funeral. If family and friends want to raise a glass and give a farewell toast, that's fine with me.

Read recently about 'green' cemetaries and burials. Just a plain box or shroud in a natural setting. I would rather they did that than an expensive casket or fancy burial.
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:17 PM   #16
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Old 07-01-2008, 05:34 PM   #17
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Read recently about 'green' cemetaries and burials. Just a plain box or shroud in a natural setting. I would rather they did that than an expensive casket or fancy burial.
actually that's pretty typical of jewish ceremony. mom was dressed in just a shroud and the stone is typically very simple. the family area does, however, have its own central monument which is simple but very nice.

i picked a very simple casket but nice enough for (a closed) viewing. jewish caskets have no metal so that the entire structure deteriorates with the body. while i was paying attention elsewhere, my wacked uncle had the funeral people lower the casket into the ground before the ceremony started. when i turned around and the casket was gone i freaked out. so much for all the work i did picking out just the right casket. there's a screw up ya just can't fix.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:49 PM   #18
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coincidental to this thread i just now received an email from a cousin who has returned (or just got to a computer, not sure yet) from israel where she visited my greatgrandfather's homestead (family currently claiming the property there & dividing the spoils from that) and so of course she also visited the graves of my greatgrandparents.

as my grandmother immigrated back to america as a very young child (actually born here but then moved back to then palestine) with her siblings to escape family strife (supposedly gr8grandpa was a very mean s.o.b.) we never knew much of the history there. but now i have the dates of death of mean gr8grandpa and of my gr8grandmother. also on the tombs were recorded the names of their parents (my gr8gr8grandparents) and their siblings, info we never had until just now.

certainly it is not information i need to survive but it does add depth to life and i would not have what i have received just today were it not for ancient rites of funeral.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:27 PM   #19
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I want to be burned. Whatever they want to do. Go for it. Im dead. Hopefully..
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:43 PM   #20
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Just one last request that they play the song by Mr. Ray Charles and Mr. Willie Nelson - 7 Spanish Angels.



God Bless Us All
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