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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > Final Disposition Of Remains Planning

Final Disposition Of Remains Planning


Estate planning is about making plans for the things you can’t take with you when you die and ensuring their wellbeing while you are alive.  A lot of estate planning focuses on finances, because the thought of your family members fighting over your estate during probate is painful, as is the thought of them bickering about whose responsibility it is to support you financially when you are elderly and infirm.  Your body is another thing that is outside of your control after you die; therefore, much of estate planning concerns itself for ensuring your physical health and safety while you are alive, such as by carrying long-term care insurance and planning for aging in place or a move to an assisted living facility.  If you dread the idea of your family members fighting over your possessions after you die, it would be even worse if they fought over where you should be buried (imagine your children bullying your wife into having your body buried next to their mother’s body, for example) or who should keep your ashes.  Planning for the final disposition of remains is an important element of estate planning, and a Tampa estate planning lawyer can help you with this and other aspects of your estate plan.

Florida Laws About Burial and Cremation

Whether you decide that you want your body to be buried or cremated, you should communicate these instructions clearly to the people close to you and write them in your will.  Florida law allows burial of bodies in cemeteries and on some private properties, with or without a casket.  When there is an open casket funeral, it may or may not be necessary to embalm the body; it depends on how much time has passed between the time of death and the funeral.  It is against the law for funeral parlors to require you to buy a casket from them; they must allow you to buy a casket elsewhere if you can find one for a lower price.

Besides conventional cremation, Florida offers alkaline hydrolysis, a process of dissolving the soft tissues of the body with chemicals, leaving only bone.  The University of Florida developed this technique as a less energy-consuming alternative to cremation.  In 2011, the Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home became the first funeral parlor to offer alkaline hydrolysis.  To make alkaline hydrolysis a legal form of final disposition, Florida expanded the definition of cremation to include processes that do not involve fire.  In the funeral business, alkaline hydrolysis is usually called flameless cremation.  It is not legal to cremate a body, including by alkaline hydrolysis, until a person with legal authority gives written authorization for it.

Contact David Toback About Planning for Cremation or Burial

An estate planning lawyer can help you develop an estate plan that includes a plan for the final disposition of your remains, whether through cremation, burial, or alkaline hydrolysis.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.

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