Disposition of Your Body

May 24, 2013

Deciding how you want your body disposed of upon your passing is not something typically brought up as a topic of conversation, even when doing your estate planning.  Nevertheless, it is a topic that should be addressed at some point to avoid future conflict. Emotions run very deep on this topic with surviving family members. Some may want to bury the body versus someone else who wants to cremate. Other disagreements may arise about where to bury the body, or where to sprinkle the ashes.

Thoughtful advance planning can help avoid this potential conflict.  Arizona statutes permit a person to declare their intentions while still alive about many of these issues. For instance, a person can declare in writing how he/she wants his/her body to be disposed of. Keep in mind, though, that there are specific statutory requirements which must be observed.

Other statutes dictate a pre-determined priority for determining who has the right to make funeral arrangements and for carrying out the decedent's wishes. However, persons with lower priority can be given a higher priority by naming them in certain documents. This can be especially useful for unmarried couples who want to let their surviving significant other to carry out their funeral plans rather than the deceased person's family.

There are also non-statutory methods for determining the final disposition of your remains such as a prearranged funeral. This is a very common way to plan ahead, and usually also keeps surviving family members and friends from having to shoulder the costs associated with the funeral arrangements.

Contact our office if we can help you plan accordingly.