Who has the right to decide on funeral and burial?

The fundamental purpose behind estate planning is to ensure that a person’s wishes are carried out and to avoid expensive legal disputes. Planning for funeral arrangements and burial or cremation is often ignored by estate planners. This is perhaps due to the fact that there have been changes in most states in recent years in the law regarding such planning. Most states have enacted a specific statute that allows for a legal document setting forth the persons wishes for funeral and burial. https://funerals.org/?consumers=legal-right-make-decisions-funeral Prior to these statutes, the law in most states was that the next of kin of the deceased person had the right to decide these arrangements. For more information on Ohio law, see http://www.michaelmillonig.com/practice-areas/funerals-burial/

A recent news story concerning the infamous Charles Manson’s estate reported that there was a legal dispute concerning the disposition of his body. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/13/593121657/charles-manson-grandson-wins-legal-battle-over-cult-leaders-body It was ultimately decided by the court that of the three people vying for this right that his grandson was the surviving adult next of kin entitled to this right. The grandson’s attorney indicated that the plan was to have the body cremated and then scattered over a body of water.