An often-overlooked aspect of an estate plan is the final disposal of the body. Whether a body is buried, cremated, or donated, the location and type of religious or memorial service (if any), and the location of the final disposition of the remains are often deeply emotional subjects for individuals and their families.
As long as everyone agrees on what should be done, this is not a contentious issue. However, when there is disagreement, the conflict can get very emotional, nasty and expensive. An understanding of the law regarding authority to dispose of a deceased’s remains can help us avoid conflict between our well-intentioned loved-ones.
The best way to avoid conflict is to leave instructions. Any individual older than 18 can authorize the type, place and method of disposition of his or her own body, and these instructions have priority.
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