Let’s bring this a little closer to home by inserting YOU into this scenario.
Your legal NOK (next of kin) WILL be notified that you’ve reached RIP status, and they WILL be forced to climb a mountain of paperwork without a compass or a rope if you don’t help the situation along by making sure they have a lifeline; a plan of action. Your legal NOK will be a family member; closest living blood relative that stands to inherit any portion of an RIP’s estate, NOK’s have no choice but to tend to an RIP and their stuff. I don’t want sound like a broken record here BUT, it is bad, bad, and triply bad to pass end of life processing on to a NOK without any prior conversation or instruction.
It is ALWAYS wise to consult with an attorney to clarify expectation as it applies to your familial situation by asking this question, How will my death affect my survivors from a legal prospective? Consider where you are with your financial situation right now, who would be responsible for your debts at death, AND can this individual handle the responsibility? Additionally, what would your survivors or the Executor of your estate be going through to legally satisfy all the requirements needed by your State and/or Federal government? This is a very big deal because you haven't seen anxiety and potential implosion of a family unit until you've seen an unprepared NOK in a vulnerable state. It.is.ugly.
Financially speaking, funeral homes and cemeteries are businesses that need payment STAT. If there is no money to take care of your body, your body could linger longer than you imagined. Why? Because without resources your family may be desperately trying to pool enough funds together to pay for RIP services rendered. Your disposition could be delayed days or weeks…embalming can be your friend for a while, but after that, whoa.
QUICK…who would be your legal NOK? A spouse, got kids (over 18), what about your parents? Are you familiar with what your NOK would be responsible for? Better question, do they know what would be expected of them? BTW, even though most NOK's have no clue about how to start the RIP process, they are generally cool about taking on the responsibility to do whatever it takes to fulfill the requirements that properly separates the non-living from the living. Some say “It is an honor to help", that they “wouldn’t have it any other way.” Honorable yes, but it can be disastrous mess to clean up. You do not want your survivors to forever ask themselves, “Did I do the right thing?”
In a perfect world, you’ll live a fuller more complete life if you possess a complete understanding about what it will take to leave your body and your stuff for others to manage. It is unbelievable how many people do not think about ever being dearly departed. Bottom line...you have to think about the people who take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself.
[TIP:] It’s a good idea to revisit your plans frequently and feel completely free to make ANY adjustments you want to make, after all, it is your send off. NOK’s have expiration dates also so you may have to make some adjustments you hadn’t planned on. As you live, breathe, and are able to make legit decisions, you can change your mind whenever you wish. For example you may think today you want your body buried, and down the road you decide maybe cremation makes more sense, make your decisions known. Talk as a family and discuss what will serve YOUR family the best going forward. NOTE: Cremation may require signatures from your legal NOK in order to proceed, so make sure your intentions are known.