Who do you want to plan your funeral?
Have you thought about what kind of service and other arrangements you would like after you pass?
These are two questions that individuals often do not want to think about. However, I’m sure you have been with a friend whose loved one has passed away, and they express to you that they wish their loved one had planned so that they knew what type of service and arrangements they would have wanted. Planning ahead, so your post-death affairs go as smoothly as possible for your family and friends is a very common (and important) estate planning goal. Your funeral service and arrangements are just one part of your comprehensive estate plan.
Ohio law provides a default list of individuals who are given the right of disposition when an individual passes away. See our last post for more information on what the right of disposition is and who holds it. However, Ohio law also allows any adult to appoint a representative for the disposition of human remains, funeral arrangements, and burial or cremation goods and services. Essentially, this representative is appointed to receive and exercise the right of disposition for the person who appointed them. The appointment of this representative occurs through the execution of an Ohio appointment form. The signer is able to name not only a primary representative but also a successor representative in case the primary has predeceased them or is unable to act for any reason.
In addition to appointing a primary and successor representative, the appointment form also allows the individual to include preferences regarding how the right of disposition should be exercised. This may include the type of service, religious observances, type of burial, location of the burial, etc. There are some legal rules and caveats regarding this section of the form that you should discuss with your attorney before filling it out to ensure it encompasses your wishes.
The Ohio appointment form is beneficial for many reasons. It eliminates confusion on who has the power to plan your funeral and make arrangements. Said funeral and arrangements can be made faster because the funeral director knows the person is the representative, and only their signature is necessary to make arrangements. If a person passes with several individuals who collectively hold the right of disposition, the appointment of one person proves to be very helpful for this reason. Also, you have the power to change who has the right of disposition for your arrangements if the default person set to do so pursuant to Ohio law is NOT who you would like to fill this role. In addition, this form allows you to put your wishes to paper which allows your loved ones to know exactly what you want and to take comfort in knowing they are fulfilling your last wishes.
Take a moment to answer the questions at the top. Then, consider adding an Ohio Appointment of Representative for Disposition of Bodily Remains, Funeral Arrangements, and Burial or Cremation Goods and Services form to your estate plan. Avoid the scenario where those closest to you struggle to guess which arrangements you want for your funeral and burial.