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Wills can have a role in how deceased are presented at funerals

For many Texas residents, estate planning sounds like something to do with financial matters and subjects such as who will receive great-aunt's jewelry collection. Although estate planning, including wills and other documents, are involved in the process of distributing the assets of a deceased, planning ahead can also ensure your wishes about other matters are known.

Estate plans can include documents regarding burial and funeral wishes, as well as documents about end-of-life care. For one transgendered woman in another state, estate planning may have removed the confusion and grief many are feeling about her funeral.

The woman, reportedly born as a male, had been living for several years as a female. Coworkers and friends reportedly identified with the individuals as a woman. She was 32 years old when she passed away from a sudden aneurysm in October.

The individual's father was in charge of funeral and other arrangements. He elected to have the individual presented as a man in an open casket at the funeral. The deceased's hair was cut short again, and the body was presented in a man's suit. The presentation was reportedly shocking and upsetting to many friends, who reported that the individual no longer identified as a man.

The individual's obituary also listed him as a man, and used his male birth name despite the fact that the deceased had legally changed his name to a female version. A Human Rights Campaign board member says this situation makes a good case for having a will drawn up at any age. A will could have specified that the individual desired to be presented as a female upon death.

For many Texas residents, gender identification doesn't necessarily play a role in estate issues. However, personal preferences about all manner of things can be communicated in a will or other estate document.

Source: Miami Herald, "Transgender woman dies suddenly, presented at funeral in open casket as a man" Steve Rothaus, Nov. 21, 2014

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