LEGAL CORNER: How can I make sure I have the funeral I want?

LEGAL CORNER: How can I make sure I have the funeral I want?
(Source: KPLC)

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QUESTION: I am 73 years old. I have a $250,000 life insurance policy, and some money in the bank. When I go out, I want to go out with a bang. I want a big party with Lil' Boosie playing at my funeral. How do I set it up to make sure my family honors my wishes when I do pass?

ANSWER: Ensuring that your wishes are honored from beyond the grave can be tricky, especially when your wishes do not involve the transfer of money or property, but involve performance!

The best plan to make sure your requests are achieved is to start coordinating with Lil Boosie. He may require pre-payment, and you may draft a contract where there are stipulated damages is he fails to honor his obligations. You may also consider having some alternative performers, in case the preferred artist is no longer in the business or is otherwise unable to perform. Also, it may be best to execute a will and appoint an executor to carry out the funeral arrangements. If the artist breaches the contract, the executor may then pursue damages on behalf of your estate.

With regards to the life insurance, unfortunately, it cannot be a conditional payment. So, you would have to assign a beneficiary you trust to carry out your wishes.

There is no foolproof way to coordinate your requests after you pass. But you are free to contract now, and put someone you trust in charge of enforcing the contract.

QUESTION: If your parent passes away with unpaid debt, are the children/heirs responsible to pay them?

ANSWER: You personally are not responsible for the debts or your parents or ancestors. However, a creditor may be able to recover from the estate of the deceased. So, if the deceased has property and you are an heir or in the will, and accept the succession, you are accepting both the assets and the debts. If the estate has more debts than assets, you can "renounce" the succession, and refuse to accept it.

You can review the statute, Civil Code Article 1742:

Acceptance or renunciation of succession

QUESTION: My fishing license expires early this summer. Do I need a new one to go crabbing? What about to use a cane pole?

ANSWER:  You do not need a fishing license to use a crab line or a dip net. You only need a license if you have crab traps – which requires a basic (salt and freshwater) fishing license and a "gear" or non-commercial (meaning you do not sell the crabs) license. You are allowed up to 10 marked traps. The collapsible string traps, as opposed to the metal ones, are considered dip nets. The confusion about licensing happens when someone crabs in a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or a wildlife refuge – they often require basic licenses to crab there and people are in violation if they crab there with no license.

As far as the cane pole, yes, you are required to have a license but it does not have to be a basic fishing license – there is a cheaper "hook and line" license that you can purchase, which allows you to legally fish with a cane pole.

You can review the licenses and the prices at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries website:

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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