What is an Authorization for Final Disposition? An Authorization for Final Disposition tells the survivors who is in charge of planning the funeral/burial, what you want, and where the funds are to provide the services you want. Years ago, I think it was more popular to make these arrangements with a funeral home when people bought burial plots. Now, I would guess this form of planning is done less because we live in a more mobile society. People don't live and die in the same town as they did years ago. (I guess this posting should have come with a warning - it's the most morbid of all the estate planning forms).
So why is it important? As you may know, estate plans are made up of more than just wills and trusts. A Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will are essential parts of a good estate plan. They tell everyone what you want to happen to you while you are alive, but incapable of making your own decisions. In fact, these documents are so essential that the State of Wisconsin makes these forms available to Wisconsin residents on the Department of Health and Family Service's website. http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/forms/AdvDirectives/ But, the State's Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will cover what happens while you are alive and not what you want for funeral and burial services.
While incredibly morbid, this form can save your family from arguing and guessing what you really wanted. I have given this form to people and told them I'm here to witnesses it if they fill it out. So far, no one has jumped at the opportunity. If you wish to include an Authorization for Final Disposition in your estate plan and are a Wisconsin resident, the form is also provided by the Department of Health and Family Service's website: http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/forms/AdvDirectives/
As always, this posting is not a substitution for good legal advice from an attorney who knows your circumstances. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog and the reader uses this information at their own risk.
Lakeland Law Firm, LLC
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Pewaukee, WI 53072