People often want to leave a lasting, positive legacy when they are gone. This legacy can stretch beyond loved ones to charitable organizations and – increasingly – the environment. A small but growing preference for people regarding their final arrangements is to have a green burial.
What is a green burial?
The term “green burial” refers to measures that reduce the negative impact that final arrangements can have on the ecosystem.
Traditional arrangements can be environmentally taxing. For instance, cremation releases significant carbon dioxide and contaminants into the air, while embalming involves toxic chemicals. Additionally, the land and water demands that go with maintaining burial plots can be enormous.
Green burial solutions aim to reduce the toll these measures take on the environment. Depending on where you live and what your personal beliefs are, some of the green burial options you might consider could include:
- Burial suits that sprout mushrooms during decomposition
- Burial pods that eventually grow into trees
- Burial in a conservation burial site
- Biodegradable urns or caskets
- Water cremation
One state even permits human composting.
If these options appeal to you, know that they are not standard arrangements. As such, if you do prefer this green approach, saying as much in your will and estate plan is crucial. Do not wait until it is too late to express your wishes.
Protecting your wishes
Start now by researching the options available, as well as the cost. You can then start to save and set aside money to cover the cost of a green burial.
Making the decision now allows you to express your preference to trusted loved ones, including your spouse, children and family attorney. Communicating these wishes through your estate plan gives you peace of mind that others know what you want.