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Connect to the information you need in order to make end-of-life choices.

Not Sure Who to Put in Charge of Your Funeral?

At the time of your death, someone will have to make decisions like which funeral home to choose, if you will be buried or cremated, or if any event will take place where family and friends can gather together. That someone is typically your next-of-kin.

Your next-of-kin is an immediate family member such as your spouse or civil union/domestic partner, children, parents, or siblings. There are, however, certain instances where it may be irrelevant or undesirable to have your next-of-kin be responsible for your funeral arrangements.

Maybe you never married your significant other or you have become estranged from your next-of-kin. Perhaps one of your children is a little more inclined to follow your wishes than the others, or you are concerned your children will disagree regarding how to execute your funeral after your death.

In situations like these, designating a Funeral Agent is a viable option.

What is a Funeral Agent?

A Funeral Agent is a person designated to have legal responsibility, or what funeral directors refer to as the right to control, over all of the matters concerning your disposition.  

In New Jersey, appropriately appointed Funeral Agents have the absolute right to arrange your funeral. The Funeral Agent’s right to control the decisions surrounding your funeral supersedes the rights of all others, including spouses, civil union and domestic partners, children, parents and siblings.

Who can be a Funeral Agent?

You can appoint whomever you wish to be your Funeral Agent except, for obvious reasons, your funeral director. Your appointed Funeral Agent can be just about anyone including a friend, clergy member, social worker, or extended family.

How do I appoint a Funeral Agent?

To appoint a valid Funeral Agent, you must make the designation in a final will or legal codicil to the will. Since appointments made any other way are not recognized, you should inform your attorney that you wish to designate an individual as your Funeral Agent. The attorney will then either draw up a will or amend the existing will to include language according to specific New Jersey law regarding Funeral Agents.

Should I appoint a Funeral Agent?

If you are concerned that your surviving family member(s) will not adhere to your wishes, suspect that there will be family arguments, or know there will be no one to make those decisions on your behalf, it may be time to consider a Funeral Agent designation.