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When a loved one dies, the person who will make final arrangements for their deceased loved one will need to have disposition authority over their remains. This authority can be granted by an Advance Directive. The advance directive can name one or more agents. These agents must be competent adults. An Advance Directive must also state whether the person wishes to be cremated or buried.

Disposition Authority Explained

When it comes to deciding what to do with your body after you pass away, having disposition authority for your remains can be helpful. Many states grant the right to dispose of a person’s body in accordance with their wishes. If you don’t want the body to be cremated, buried or any other form of disposition it’s still possible to leave detailed instructions for a public administrator to follow.

 A disputed claim can lead to a delay in disposition. Also, local laws may require a specific time frame to dispose of remains due to health requirements. If you’re unsure of the law in your area, a consular officer will encourage you to get a final agreement with your relatives.

Case law regarding Disposition

The rights of family members in determining disposition of a decedent’s body are based on the deceased person’s wishes. However, some states grant the right to dispose of a body to someone other than the next of kin. In these circumstances, a court must take the decedent’s wishes into account, and issue an order that reflects the wishes of the deceased.

In some cases, a deceased person’s next-of-kin can petition the probate court for the rights to dispose of the body. If the family members cannot agree, the county court may decide. The court will consider the convenience of other families and the needs of friends in making decisions about the disposition of a decedent’s remains.

Statutes for Disposition

Statutes for disposition authority for remains are necessary for a deceased person to decide how to dispose of his or her body. The person who is authorized to dispose of the remains must be at least eighteen years old, be the decedent’s guardian at the time of death, or be a person in the decedent’s next of kin. In certain cases, a person may also be authorized under the will of a deceased person.

Statutes for disposition authority for remains depend on the country of the deceased. If the deceased person was abroad, they will likely need to contact their relatives or the consulate to learn about the country’s laws regarding disposition. The consular officer will also need to know whether any family members have legal rights to the deceased person’s remains. The consular officer should urge both parties to reach an agreement before determining the disposition of the deceased’s remains.

Disposition Agent’s responsibilities

There are specific responsibilities an agent has when disposing of a deceased person’s remains. For example, he or she must notify the coroner of the deceased’s wishes. If the deceased had children, the agent must inform them of those wishes. If the deceased did not make specific designations, the agent is responsible for making decisions regarding the disposition of the remains.

The estate plan should contain instructions on the disposition of a decedent’s remains. These instructions may be included in a valid will. However, amending a will is a complicated process. A more straightforward way is to execute a new Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains. However, an appointed agent may choose to disregard family objections or his own oral instructions. Moreover, written instructions are not reliable if they fall on the shoulders of a family member who is not sympathetic to the wishes of the deceased person.

If you have any questions about Disposition Authority contact one of the Attorneys at The Narrows Law Group.