A couple of years ago I was captivated by all of the festivities attending Muhammad Ali’s homegoing. What a great ﬁnish to the life of a thoughtful, inspiring, and loving person! What made it so amazing is that he planned it himself, years ago, right down to the most intricate details. For example, I read that he made sure there were no food vendors at the ceremony at the stadium; instead free water and food was provided to the attendees. Of eternal signiﬁcance, he planned most of the festivities with the intention of bringing people from various backgrounds, ethnicities and religions together. Maybe Ali’s family would have planned something similar, but the fact that Ali planned it himself just adds to the many reasons he claimed to be, and is, “The Greatest”!
I must confess that I am one of those people who has shared a few things about my send-off wishes, but only verbally to my immediate family. Ali has motivated me to do what I suggest to my clients – write out your wishes. As part of the estate plans that I prepare, I always include a sheet entitled “Funeral Instructions”. Here a person can write who they would like to ofﬁciate at their service, the songs they want sung, the names of pallbearers, etc. For people that say they don’t want any type of service, I tell them to make a big “X” through that page and write in the margin “dinner at Coco’s” or whatever their preference might be. Of course, I plan to get around to doing this task myself at some time in the future, but for now I have moved it up on my loooong list of things to do.
My husband is always teasing me about reading so many obituaries. He tells me that he is going to write his own short obituary because I might leave out something important about him (like he’s going to know the difference). If he does write it and I’m still around, I reserve the right to make the ﬁnal edits.
© 2018 by Marlene S. Cooper. All rights reserved.
(Marlene S. Cooper, a graduate of UCLA, has been an attorney for over 35 years. Her practice is focused entirely on estate planning, estate administration and probate. You may obtain further information at www.marlenecooperlaw. com, by e-mail at Marlene@ MarleneCooperLaw.com, by phone at (626) 791-7530 or toll free at (866) 702-7600. The information in this article is of a general nature and not intended as legal advice. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this article).