The death of a loved one is a stressful time for family and friends. When it comes to funeral arrangements, family members are sometimes at odds over the details. One way a person can help ease the burden on those left behind is to create a plan for burial arrangements.

Arguably, the most important decisions when it comes to final arrangements are whether a person will be cremated or buried, and the location of his or her final resting place. Under Florida law, an individual’s written directions are the first preference in determining such things.

If a person’s final wishes are in doubt or unknown, Florida law provides for the responsibility to fall on relatives, starting with the decedent’s spouse. If there is no spouse, an adult child, parent, brother or sister, adult grandchild, grandparent, or other family member (in that order) will have the right to make decisions regarding funeral arrangements. Disputes are not uncommon when family members are left to make burial decisions, sometimes even leading family members to face off in court. Again, having a written plan is the best way to prevent such frustrations.

One of the most important aspects of creating a burial plan is to remember to place it somewhere easily accessible by family or friends. A separate document may be created, or a person could include the information within the same document that designates his or her health care surrogate. One could place the instructions in a will, but final arrangements must usually be made soon after death, and an individual’s will may not be read until weeks later.

If you have specific wishes, making a burial plan can be an important part of planning your estate. A consultation with an experienced attorney is always advised.