As we discuss wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents, many people have questions on their final arrangements. A lot of people are content to let their loved ones make arrangements, but many others have very specific wishes and ask to put these wishes in a will.
Unfortunately though, while you can place those wishes in a will (or better yet a power of attorney), Missouri does not have a legal document where one can place their wishes and require them to be followed. Instead, Missouri allows for the right of sepulcher.
The right of sepulcher is a power you give a person to allow them to make decisions over your final arrangements. This includes burial, cremation, etc. However, it does not require them to follow your specific wishes. Often times, I will include the right of sepulcher in the power of attorney and include the wishes. However, if the agent under the power of attorney chooses to disregard the wishes, they may.
Because this power is so general, I strongly recommend pre-arranging your funeral, cremation, burial, etc. While your agent would not be required to use those services, having the planning done (and perhaps already paid for) is the best way to ensure your wishes are followed.
Many local funeral homes would be happy to discuss your options and find a way to meet your wishes. If this is an important issue to you, I would strongly recommend beginning this process today and considering it as part of your estate plan.