[531B-4] Right to control disposition; priority. (a) Unless a decedent has left directions in writing for the disposition of remains pursuant to section 531B-3 or 531B-5 or a person has forfeited the right of disposition pursuant to section 531B-6, the following persons, in the priority listed, have the right to control the disposition of the decedent's remains and the location, manner, and conditions of disposition of the decedent's remains:

(1) A person designated by the decedent in a testamentary disposition or a written instrument executed in accordance with section 531B-5;

(2) The surviving spouse, if the decedent was legally married at the time of death; the surviving partner, as defined in section 572B-1, if the decedent had legally entered into a civil union at the time of death; or the surviving reciprocal beneficiary, as defined in section 572C-3, if the decedent was in a reciprocal beneficiary relationship at the time of death;

(3) The sole surviving child of the decedent, or if there is more than one surviving child, the majority of the surviving children. Less than the majority of the surviving children shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving children and the other surviving children cannot be located or have not responded within five days of the notification of the decedent's death;

(4) The surviving parent or parents of the decedent. Only one surviving parent shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if that surviving parent used reasonable efforts to notify the other surviving parent and the other surviving parent cannot be located or has not responded within five days of the notification of the decedent's death;

(5) The surviving sibling of the decedent, or if there is more than one surviving sibling, the majority of the surviving siblings. Less than the majority of the surviving siblings shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving siblings and the other surviving siblings cannot be located or have not responded within five days of the notification of the decedent's death;

(6) The surviving grandparent of the decedent, or if there is more than one surviving grandparent, the majority of the surviving grandparents. Less than the majority of the surviving grandparents shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving grandparents and the other surviving grandparents cannot be located or have not responded within five days of the notification of the decedent's death;

(7) The surviving grandchild of the decedent, or if there is more than one surviving grandchild, the majority of the surviving grandchildren. Less than the majority of the surviving grandchildren shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving grandchildren and the other surviving grandchildren cannot be located or have not responded within five days of the notification of the decedent's death;

(8) The guardian of the decedent at the time of the decedent's death, if one had been appointed;

(9) The personal representative of the estate of the decedent;

(10) The person in the next degree of kinship to the decedent, in descending order, subject to descent and distribution under the laws of succession of the State. If there is more than one person of the same degree of kinship to the decedent, any person of that degree may exercise the right of disposition;

(11) If the disposition of the remains of the decedent is the responsibility of the State or a political subdivision of the State, the public officer, administrator, or employee responsible for arranging the final disposition of decedent's remains; and

(12) In the absence of any person under paragraphs (1) through (10) of this section, any other person willing to assume the responsibilities to act and arrange the final disposition of the decedent's remains, after attesting in writing that a good faith effort has been made to notify the individuals under paragraphs (1) through (10) of the decedent's death, and no persons have agreed to assume the responsibilities or have responded within five days of the notification.

(b) If a United States Department of Defense Record of Emergency Data, DD Form 93, or its successor form, was in effect at the time of death for a decedent who died in a manner described by title 10 United States Code sections 1481(a)(1) through (8), the DD Form 93 controls any other written instrument described in section 531B-3 or 531B-5 with respect to designating a person to control the disposition of the decedent's remains. Notwithstanding section 531B-3 or 531B-5, the form is legally sufficient if it is properly completed, signed by the decedent, and witnessed in the manner required by the form. [L 2013, c 17, pt of 2]

 

 

Previous Vol12_Ch0501-0588 Next