End of life plans raise several questions and concerns, especially if no clear instructions have been left. When making the choice between burial or cremation, understand that there are legal issues to keep in mind.
Heritage Cremation Provider is a family-based cremation provider specializing in grief management. Such specialists know the questions to ask to get the answers needed in this trying tife. They offer grief programs and handle the calls or paperwork necessary. Their funeral directors are available 24/7 and prioritize providing affordable, quality services with the utmost sensitivity and care. Still, you may have some questions left unanswered when it comes to cremation and the legal aspects of the practice. The following are five legal issues to keep in mind.
Who makes the funeral arrangements?
When no one is designated to carry out funeral arrangements, law determines who has the ability to make decisions. Following an estate executor, surviving family members such as spouse or children, parents or siblings, are responsible for decisions. A public administrator is named if no one is responsible for the estate.
The appointee will need to complete a cremation authorization form and file it along with the death certificate in the county in which the cremation will take place. This cremation or disposition permit allows the crematory or funeral home to proceed with the cremation.
Who pays for funeral costs?
The Funeral Rule gives individuals the right to choose the goods and services wanted or needed and pay only for those services selected, whether the arrangements are made in advance or upon death. The FTC has a consumer guide for funerals outlining consumer rights, provider considerations, and questions to ask when making arrangements and comparing products, services, and costs.
If arrangements are not prepaid, next of kin will be responsible. With an estate, the funds will be taken out of the deceased’s assets. Sometimes, disagreements arise about how and whether or not to honor end of life wishes. When disputes about who has the right to make decisions or execute plans arise, legal assistance is a logical step. An attorney or mediator can deliver an honest assessments to help families through the legalities — and emotions —of this situation.
Declaring end of life wishes
It is simple to make a valid declaration form to appoint a ‘declaration instrument’ responsible for all final wishes. All the appointer must do is write out the details of end of life wishes, sign and date the document.
Funeral plans should be clearly written so that survivors will know how to proceed, denote burial or cremation, and how the ceremonies should be held. Store the document separately from a will in a place that survivors will be able to find.
Transporting cremains is a relatively easy process. Most airlines will allow a passenger to transport cremains either as cargo or carry on luggage, however, check with the airline prior to departure. The TSA does have certain regulations about what type of container can be used for transport.
Cremains can also be shipped domestically or internationally through the USPS. There are guidelines on the USPS website that outline how to pack and ship remains.
What can be done with ashes?
Since ashes pose no public health risks, there are few restrictions on where they can be scattered. Many cemeteries have scattering gardens, though some prefer to be scattered on their own property.
Scattering ashes on federal land requires permission. The federal Clean Water Act stipulates that remains must be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. In the instance of an inland water burial, a permit may be required. The Environmental Protection Agency must be notified within 30 days of any ashes scattered at sea.
When it comes to the passing of a loved one, going through the cremation process may be difficult, especially if you have no clear instructions of how to proceed. It’s important to keep these factors in mind to help you move through the process as swiftly and smoothly as possible. Should this be too difficult of a time, know that cremation specialists are readily available to help with any issues and questions you may have.