Cremation: How To Prevent Your Heirs Costly Legal Expenses To Carry Out Your Wishes

“What are your plans after death?”  

When you reach a certain age, conversations like these become less absurd and taboo and more practical.  

The perpetual rising cost of everything around us necessitates a comprehensive plan for our loved ones to follow after we pass away. One of the first things you’ll probably plan for is your funeral. Should you get cremated or buried?  

Neither option is cheap, but cremation may be the more financially viable choice for most people.  

Burial vs Cremation: Which One Is More Cost-Effective?  

Since the Catholic Church amended cremation in its Code of Canon Law in 1963, the practice has been gaining popularity. In fact, the Cremation Association of America estimates that 60% of people today are cremated, with even higher rates in certain states like Nevada (80%).  

While traditional burial is still a preferred choice for many, cremation is becoming an increasingly popular alternative due to its cost-effectivity. According to Funeralocity, the average cost of traditional full-service burial in Louisiana is around $8,660, while it’s $6,387 for cremation.  

Although cheaper options are available, the difference between the two practices is still marginal. An affordable burial in Louisiana averages $5,206, while the average cost of an affordable cremation in the state could set you back $2,311.  

Louisiana Law on Cremation  

The law surrounding cremation varies widely from state to state. Some states allow direct cremation without a funeral service, some require a funeral service before cremation, and some leave the decision entirely up to the individual or their family.  

In Louisiana, no specific laws require families to hold a funeral service before cremation. However, the state does require a certified death certificate and written authorization from the next of kin or legal representative before a cremation can take place.  

The body of the deceased can’t be cremated until an authorized physician or coroner has issued a death certificate and the local health department has approved for cremation.  

In terms of scattering the ashes, you have a wider option. Private places and scattering gardens are the most obvious choices, but Louisiana law allows the scattering of ashes on public land or water if you obtain permission from the appropriate authorities. If you prefer to scatter ashes in the sea, the Clean Water Act requires that ashes be scattered at least three nautical miles from the coast.  

Protecting Your Loved Ones From Hefty Burial Costs  

As mentioned earlier, written authorization from the next of kin or legal representative is required before a cremation occurs in Louisiana. However, this legality often sprouts bitter disputes among family members and can lead to costly legal battles.  

To avoid such situations, discuss your end-of-life wishes with your loved ones and have them clearly outlined in a legally binding document, such as a simple declaration before a notary or in your last will and testament.  

More often than not, individuals without a legally binding will leave a significant question unanswered: what to do with their remains. Not only can this cause confusion and disputes among family members, but it can also result in unwanted and costly decisions being made on your behalf.  

To save everyone the hassle, discussing and documenting your wishes can prevent your heirs from facing expensive legal expenses in the future. Taking control of your end-of-life arrangements can also help ease the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.  

Protect Your Family Now While You Still Can  

Wills, trusts, and other legal documents protect your assets, ensure your final wishes are carried out, and avoid disputes.  

If you need help drafting and executing legal documents, our experienced family lawyer can help you ensure your wishes are carried out and your family is protected.  

Book your consultation with us today to get started!