Planning for the final disposition of your body

One of country music star Kenny Chesney’s hits includes the lyrics, “Everyone wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.” While the song is both clever and fun, it raises an important point: Making funeral arrangements and planning for the final disposition of the body can be uncomfortable. Still, you likely want to have some say in these matters.

In Georgia, you can create a preneed contract that addresses your post-death wishes. Provided your estate has sufficient wealth to pay for these plans, officials should respect them. Nonetheless, you also can name someone who has the legal capacity to modify your plans in certain situations.


If you die without making your wishes known, Georgia law outlines who may make your final arrangements. In order, the first six of these individuals are as follows:

  • Your health care agent
  • An affidavit-designated individual
  • Your surviving spouse
  • Your adult children
  • Your parents
  • Your siblings

Clearly, if you want your surviving relatives, friends and others to respect your wishes, recording them in a legally binding document may eliminate both ambiguity and disagreements. As such, a preneed contract may become an important part of your overall estate plan.

Disposing of your remains 

You have a few options to dispose of your remains. For example, you may choose a burial or cremation. You may also want to donate organs and tissues. Or, you may choose to use your body to further scientific research. Specifying your wishes in a preneed contract is arguably the best way to ensure you retain some control over what happens to your body after you die.

While it can be uncomfortable, stressful or downright scary to make final arrangements, you probably do not want to leave fulfillment of your wishes to chance. By understanding Georgia law and executing a preneed contract, you may achieve some peace of mind in the final years of your life.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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