Effective June 27, Michiganders can designate a Funeral Representative

We are finally catching up to other states; soon it will be possible to designate someone to make your funeral arrangements for you instead of having to just leave it up to your next of kin. A Funeral Representative is like a healthcare advocate: they are authorized to make decisions regarding your funeral and burial or cremation. Until now, there has been no guarantee that your funeral wishes would be followed, because carrying out the funeral wishes does not come under the purview of the designated healthcare agent. Now you can rest assured that your funeral representative will be able to have decision-making capacity.

Here’s an example: Say you are a member of an unmarried couple. You have chosen your partner to be your healthcare representative, meaning you have written your end-of-life healthcare wishes out, signed a form that names your partner as the one who will make healthcare decisions for you if you can no longer speak for yourself, and your partner has agreed to do this. When you die, those rights go away and the next-of-kin, meaning your long-lost sister or someone you aren’t close to, is the one who is legally responsible for carrying out your funeral. If you wanted to be cremated, the funeral director had to locate the legal nest of kin and get their signature in order to do the cremation. Many people have been caught off guard by this; they had assumed that they would be able to request the cremation without a problem. Now, you may sign paperwork designating your partner as your “funeral representative” and your partner can authorize the cremation.The long-lost relative no longer has to be located and made to sign.

You can imagine the difficulty this has caused in same sex relationships, or in the case of someone wanting very specific after death care such as home funeral or green burial. It will be more likely that your wishes will be followed.

It is imperative that you plan ahead, designate a funeral representative that knows and will honor your wishes, and fully inform them of the type of funeral and disposition arrangements you would like to have. While you are planning and signing forms, you can also put aside money to pay for what you want. The

For a form to use, please contact me.

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