The Michigan legislature finally passed a law that makes good sense. You may not know this, but prior to March 29, 2016, Michigan citizens did not have a say over who would make funeral and burial decisions for them upon their deaths. Instead the law provided that your next of kin in a state-dictated order of priority had the right to dictate these decisions without regard to any input or instruction from you on what you would want or would not want. Meaning in Michigan you literally had no control over what happened to your body upon your death.
So as it stood the status quo in Michigan was that you could decide who you trust to make medical and financial decisions for you, if you were incapacitated, and to distribute your assets upon your death, but the same couldn’t be said for your actual body.
Fortunately as of March 29, 2016, the Michigan legislature has come to their senses and passed Public Act 57 of 2016. This new law allows you to designate a “Funeral Representative” to make funeral and burial decisions on your behalf and in accordance with your wishes. In this designation you can include instructions for your Funeral Representative about the kind of funeral or burial you would prefer, including observing any religious or familial customs.
I can’t think anything more important than maintaining control over what happens to you and having your wishes respected. This new designation delivers the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out by a person of your choosing and not that of the state’s.
Contact Shinners & Cook, your local estate planning attorney, to discuss your funeral representative and other estate planning concerns.