Yes, this is morbid, sad and no one really likes to think about when they die. However, every friend I've ever had that passed untimely always previously said things like "I want to be cremated", " I want a natural burial" or "Please do not have a viewing for me". It seems like the majority of people my age do not want an expensive funeral with embalming, a viewing, flowers, etc. But that has always been what has happened.

Because they left no directive and it was on their parents or spouse to decide. Their parents, in a state of shock and grief did what other people always do- sink $10,000 or more into a ceremony their loved one would not have wanted.

The good news is that it is extremely easy and inexpensive to create a death directive. It's a single sheet of paper and you need only get it notarized. And it's available here, for free. You must sign it in front of a notary, but the standard notary fee is $6. For $6 measly dollars you can have your wishes honored- and possibly save your vulnerable family from making very expensive decisions at the height of their grief. Texas law requires that your appointed agent honor your wishes to the extent that your family can afford them. Be sure that a few people you trust have copies in case one goes missing or if there is any question about it.

I would like to say that I am by no means judging the open-casket route- for many people it brings closure to see their loved one for the last time. However, you do have options. You don't have to be embalmed for an open casket, for example. They can freeze you instead (although the condition of your body may make the appearance of your corpse frightening). As for me, the thought of someone doing my eyeliner wrong irks me beyond belief- if practical and affordable for my family I wish for a natural burial in Eloise Woods Park. Or, if my mother is still alive, I want my ashes interred alongside my sisters.

Also, don't rely on your will to cover this issue. Many times wills are read too late- way after the service. Have your directive where your loved ones can find it. And if you really want to be safe or are in poor health- talk to a lawyer about an Advanced Directive- which concerns issues such as your end of life care.

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