Too often, people do not think about end-of-life arrangements until after a person has died. Then decisions must be made quickly during an emotional and stressful time.
However, it is possible to plan ahead by discussing your wishes with the significant people in your life, and writing down how you would like important matters to be handled.
Decide whether you want a will, health care advance directive, durable power of attorney or anatomical gift. Decide what final arrangements you would like. Information in the Advance Directives, Funeral Services, Cemetery Burial, Home Burial, Cremation and Burial At Sea sections can help you think about what you would like.
We encourage you to use all available resources when planning, including advice from a health care provider, religious or spiritual advisor, attorney, family and friends, and hospice. This information is not designed to offer medical or legal advice – for that, please consult with your health care provider and attorney.
A Guide to Cemetery and Burial Law
Digging Deep - is a guide to cemetery and burial law provided by the Office of the Vermont Secretary of State.
- Periodically review your needs and the documents you have. You can change or cancel these documents at any time.
- Set up files to keep important paperwork. Some people keep original papers in a bank safety deposit box. If you do, you may want to keep at-home copies or information concerning the location of your safety deposit box. Papers may include:
- your will
- durable power of attorney
- birth certificate
- social security card
- insurance policies
- a health care advance directive
- financial documents like bank accounts, loans, stocks and bonds
- property deeds
- pre-need contract (described later)
- cemetery deed
- auto titles
- veteran information, etc.
- If you have a health care advance directive, a durable power of attorney or an anatomical gift, discuss this with your health care provider and the significant people in your life. When you make your loved ones aware that you have an advance directive, and you discuss with them how you would like these matters handled, it will help your wishes to be carried out the way you want. Make them aware of the location of this paperwork, and give a copy to your health care provider and to the person you designate as your health care surrogate or durable power of attorney.
Special Thanks to: Florida Agency for Health Care Administration; Joshua Slocum of the Funeral Consumers Alliance; Joy Fagan, Vermont Cemetary Association; Lisa Carlson of the Funeral Ethics Organization; and Chris Book of the Vermont Funeral Directors Association.