Who Can Approve a Loved One’s Cremation?

EstateWhen a loved one dies, those left behind are forced to deal not only with the grief of the loss, they must also deal with immediate needs, such as funeral arrangements, memorial services and the like. Families don’t often argue over the color of the casket, but a feud can break out over whether or not to cremate a loved one’s remains.

Let’s face it — cremation is a touchy subject. The laws on the books reflect public divisiveness over whether it’s a suitable or preferable alternative to burial in a casket.

There are restrictions on who is allowed to authorize the cremation. Texas law establishes guidelines on who can make this decision. The order of preference in the decision-making chain follows:

  • A written instrument signed by the decedent
  • The decedent’s spouse
  • All children over 18 years old
  • Surviving parents,
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Any surviving family members

One of the written instruments that can authorize cremation is deceased’s will. The will may state whether the testator wishes to be cremated, appoints an executor, and bequeaths general assets to survivors. An executor can authorize the cremation only if the will states a preference as to cremation.

Alternatively, an Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains, which gives an agent the power to authorize cremation, may be granted by and individual during his lifetime. This document can also provide names of two successor agents should the original agent be unable or unwilling to authorize the cremation.

If you are preparing a Will and are considering cremation, call an experienced estate planning lawyer at the Peterson Law Group.  Our experienced Conroe, Texas attorneys help clients develop comprehensive estate plans, including drafting will and various trusts to fit their estate planning needs. Call us at 936-337-4681 or 979-703-7014 or contact us online to arrange an appointment.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.