In a time of loss, many families are overwhelmed managing all of the details. Family members must tackle a mountain of tasks from canceling subscriptions to managing day-to-day finances for the deceased. Families must notify insurance companies, Social Security, and other relevant agencies – and then there’s the important task of arranging funeral or cremation services. When it comes to these end-of-life services, though, only certain people can authorize Philadelphia cremation or funeral services. Who has the authority to arrange funerals or cremations?

State Law Governs Funerals and Cremation

State law dictates who can legally arrange funeral or cremation services. Families assume that the spouse or children have the legal authority to arrange cremation or funeral services, but that isn’t always the case.

In New York, for example, the deceased can name an authorized agent to make those arrangements – who may not be a family member at all. If there is no appointed agent, the spouse or domestic partner is authorized to make cremation arrangements, and then the children, parents, and siblings are further down the list.

On the other hand, in Texas, it’s standard policy to have everyone in the family sign off acknowledging services such as cremation. Because cremation is permanent, it’s industry policy to notify the next of kin that the deceased is to be cremated before the procedure can move forward, and to require acknowledgement of that notification in writing.

The specifics vary from state to state, so it’s important to contact a reputable and knowledgeable funeral home for information about local laws.

Timely Services Require Correct Legal Authorization

The majority of delays in the funeral or cremation process occur due to lack of correct legal authorization. In some cases, families delay obtaining the necessary authorizations too long. In other cases, families complete authorization forms incorrectly, requiring the entire process to begin again. The need to obtain out-of-state or out-of-country signatures introduces a host of potential delays. It’s vital for families to obtain the required authorizations in a timely manner or the cremation or funeral can be delayed – sometimes by weeks or even months.

The Difficulties of Obtaining Multiple Authorizations

States like Texas that require all of the next of kin to acknowledge cremation, or states that require multiple authorizations for services, pose different challenges for families. In some cases, it can take days or even weeks just to get everybody to sign the required authorizations for services. When families don’t agree on funeral or cremation services, the problem is compounded, because the services can’t go forward until the required individuals sign the authorization forms. States that require multiple authorizations have procedures that enable the family to move forward with services even if someone refuses to sign, but navigating this process can be difficult without a knowledgeable guide.

Ultimately, state laws governing the funeral and cremation process are easily navigated with the assistance of a knowledgeable funeral director. Families should work with knowledgeable funeral or cremation providers to navigate the authorization process and ensure timely services after a loved one’s death.

Categories: Legal

Leave a Reply