Funeral Representative Designation

By: Katelyn A. Sweeney

A Funeral Representative Designation is a useful tool that allows a person, known as a declarant, to name a specific individual who will have all rights and power over them upon their death. These rights and powers include the decisions surrounding their funeral arrangements and the handling of their remains.

It is important to understand that a funeral representative designation does not allow a declarant to lay out their final wishes in the document, but rather allows the declarant to pick someone who they believe will follow their wishes. Therefore, it is important to discuss what wishes you have regarding your funeral arrangements with the designated representative you choose.

For some people, a funeral representative designation is not necessary due to the ability to pre pay for a funeral or because the Michigan law aligns with who an individual is likely to choose for this position. However, funeral representative designations can be particularly helpful for people who are involved in a second marriage or have developed a close relationship with someone that does not fall under the Michigan priority list. The priority list pre-determines based on law who a funeral representative will be, upon someone’s death. Subsequently, it is important to determine who Michigan law designates as your funeral representative and compare that to your wishes. If the two do not align, a funeral representative designation can ensure your wishes are met.

Sharon A. Burgess and Danelle E. Harrington practice in the areas of probate/estate planning, long term care planning and elder law, and business and real estate transactions at SMITH BOVILL, P.C.  Their articles are intended to introduce various issues arising within this field of practice and are not intended to replace individual legal advice.  If you have questions, please contact Sharon or Danelle at one of the firm’s two convenient office locations in Frankenmuth and Saginaw.