Final Disposition after Death

Who decides what happens to your remains after you have died?

After a loved one has passed away, the last thing families want is a dispute over what should be done with his or her remains. Occasionally this happens, when there are differing opinions and there are no documents in place that express the loved one’s wishes.

In Idaho Code Section 54-1142, it states: If the decedent did not make a prearranged funeral plan, the right to control the disposition of his or her remains vests in the following persons in the order listed:

  • the person designated in a written document executed by the decedent and acknowledged. (“Authorization for Final Disposition”);
  • the person designated under a durable power of attorney for healthcare executed by the decedent;
  • the person designated in a durable power of attorney (for property) executed by the decedent, if it contains express and clear language granting such right to the agent named in such power of attorney;
  • the competent surviving spouse;
  • a majority of the competent surviving adult children of the decedent;
  • the competent surviving parent.

Any question about an individual’s intent is easily resolved if they have executed an Authorization for Final Disposition. This names a Representative and gives him or her the authority to carry out the decedent’s wishes.

As with other decisions, by making your desires clear, it is much more likely that they will be carried out.

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.