This is What Happens to You After You Die

a senior couple smiling and looking at one another

First, everything will go black, then you will see a long tunnel with a bright shining light at the other end . . .. Okay, seriously, it is not the job of an attorney to tell you about that. But have you ever thought about what happens to your remains after you pass away? And have you given any thought to putting plans in place to accomplish your wishes?

While some people enter into burial contracts, buy plots, plan wakes, etc. and do fairly extensive post-death planning, many people neglect to consider what they want done with their remains, perhaps because the topic makes them uncomfortable or because coming to terms with death, especially one’s own, can be unfathomable.

For those that want to do this type of planning, in the absence of a fully delineated funeral plan, a good place to make elections concerning your remains is in a health care proxy and/or a last will and testament. Do you want to be buried? If so, where? Do you want to be cremated? Where would you like your cremains to be scattered? (Many don’t know that there are laws about the indiscriminate scattering of cremains—no one wants to be sunning themselves in the park and start sneezing when the wind kicks up what’s left of someone’s dear departed grandpa).

In the absence of any evidence of express plans, under Massachusetts law, a surviving spouse or next of kin has the authority to make decisions concerning the disposition of your remains. For many people, this is sufficient. But the question is does this work for you?

Another important consideration is whether you would like to be an organ donor. If so, are there any limits on the parts you would like to donate? Under Massachusetts law, among other ways, an individual may make an anatomical gift by a will or by authorizing a statement of wishes during a terminal event witnessed by two people, at least one of whom is disinterested. One may also make an election through the Registry of Motor Vehicles and receive a decal on their driver’s license, or authorize a health care proxy to make the decision.

Until the day comes when you find out if the tunnel is real or not, contact the Law Office of Brandon L. Campbell for your estate planning needs, both for now, and the hereafter.