What is a Designation of Funeral Representative?


In 2016, Michigan passed MCL 700.3206, which allows an individual to name a funeral representative to handle their affairs regarding funeral and burial arrangements. This new law gives much-needed clarity and peace of mind that your final wishes can be carried out by the person of your choosing.

Under the previous law, the only individuals who could handle final arrangements were a spouse, children, or other close relatives. Additionally, you could not specify a specific individual to carry out your final wishes. So, as you can imagine, this created confusion as to WHO was supposed to handle funeral and burial arrangements; and it could also be a source of family conflict if everyone could not agree on how things should be handled.

The new law cleans up this messy situation by listing certain individuals in order of priority that are given the authority to handle your funeral and burial arrangements. Notably, the law permits you to designate a funeral representative of your choosing (subject to certain exceptions) to carry out your final wishes. This person does not need to be your spouse or relative. You can designate your funeral representative in a document that is signed in the presence of two witnesses or a notary, thus ensuring that your final wishes are carried out promptly and in the manner you have chosen.

We see the Designation of Funeral Representative as an important planning tool that can help give you peace of mind that your funeral and burial arrangements will be carried out in alignment with your wishes. As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the designation, so please do not hesitate to give us a call if this is something that you would like to add to your estate planning documents!