Monday, February 22, 2010

More on the Handling of One's Remains

Often times with the passing of a loved one, handling the burial and final disposition of the loved one’s remains can become a point of contention if there has not previously been clear direction provided on how this is to be handled. In the absence of specific instruction, funeral homes may require a court order authorizing the disposition of the remains of a decedent. Also in the absence of clear instruction, parties may be at odds with how the remains are to be handled, thus, requiring court intervention and added expense and delay.

In light of these potential issues, it is important to note that Nevada state law allows an adult, while living, to execute an affidavit authorizing the burial of his or her remains at death. Specifically, NRS 451.024 provides a priority of individuals authorized to handle the burial of a decedent’s remains. Pursuant to NRS 451.024, the individual designated in the aforementioned affidavit has priority in handling the remains of the deceased loved one. Thereafter the statute specifies priority based on relationship to the decedent, e.g. spouse, adult son or daughter, parent, adult brother or sister, and so on and so forth. To avoid potential issues regarding the handling of a loved one’s remains, care should be taken ahead of time to include these arrangements as part of one’s estate plan so that this matter can be dealt with during life.

-Attorney Bob Morris

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