Choose who makes your cremation arrangements
Would you like someone other than your Next of Kin make your final cremation arrangements? If so, you can and it is legal. Perhaps you would like a close friend or the future Executor of your estate be responsible. Or, if you have several children, you might want to ask one of them to ultimately be responsible in order to simplify the arrangement process after death occurs. (Note: For more information about legal Next of Kin, read my March 21, blog Will the real Next of Kin please stand up?.)
Requirements by Texas Law
There is a common misconception that scrawling your last wishes on a napkin will suffice for having someone make the final arrangements at the time of death. However, this is typically not the case. Instructions left in writing must meet the Texas Health & Safety Code (THSC) requirements to be considered a legal written instrument. To meet the State’s criteria under Sec. 711.002.c, the document must:
- Be signed by the decedent,
- The signature of the decedent is acknowledged (typically by a notary)
- The agent or successor agent signs the instrument before acting as the decedent’s agent.
Note: To modify or revoke the written instrument, a subsequent written instrument that complies with the Code must be put into place.
Thankfully, the State of Texas made it easy to ensure all criteria is met. It provided in a form called the Appointment for Disposition of Remains and its purposes is allowing people to designate someone other than their Next of Kin to take care of their final arrangements as well as leaving special instructions related to their treatment at the end-of-life. It’s important to note, the form does not replace a Power of Attorney (before death occurs) or a Will and it is limited to end-of-life arrangements.
Important: For a written instrument to be valid, the person assigning the rights, or their lawful Power of Attorney, must sign the document prior to death occurring. If unavailable at the time, the appointed agent may sign (accepting responsibility after the death occurs) after death occurs.
Other important Next of Kin topics
- Type of disposition. Include the type of disposition in the special instruction areas of the Appointment of Disposition (i.e. direct cremation, body donation, burial, etc.)
- Consult an attorney. No matter where you live, it is always recommended to consult with an attorney that specializes in estate planning. The cremation professionals at aCremation can direct you to where the THSC addresses topics but do not serve as legal counsel. You may want to check on websites such as The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel’s website to find an attorney that has expertise in this area.)
- Distribute copies. Make sure you don’t put the papers in a file and forget them. Provide copies to other family members, especially to those named in the documents as well as caregivers or the care facility where you live.
Understanding how the State determines who is responsible for making cremation arrangements before the time of death is extremely important and can simplify the cremation arrangement process. Assigning the responsibility before death is especially helpful in the following situations.
- Common Law marriages without a Declaration of Informal Marriage filed with the County Clerk.
- Large families where there are several siblings (all holding the same level of Kinship).
- Unmarried same sex relationships.
The professionals at aCremation are here to assist you. Please contact us and let us know if you have any questions or need assistance completing the Appointment for Disposition of Remains form.
aCremation is a licensed funeral establishment specializing in direct cremation throughout North, Central and South Texas. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our team of dedicated, compassionate professionals are available around-the-clock to assist with making cremation arrangements and to answer any questions. aCremation currently serves Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Tyler and Waco. We invite you to call us, toll-free at 877-353-3626.