Who Has the Legal Right to Arrange a Funeral

If you die without a will, there are laws in England and Wales to decide who inherits your estate. These laws – called intestate succession rules – also determine who has the right to arrange your funeral. The funeral home option is the legal way for you to appoint a specific person to make decisions for your funeral at the time of your death. Again, it helps to have a funeral plan or pay for this service in advance. Otherwise, those burdens fall on your family`s shoulders when needed. Sometimes people believe that an executor can plan the funeral of the deceased and make decisions. In New Jersey, however, the executor does not automatically have the right to plan or control the funeral, or to decide on the burial or cremation of the deceased, unless the will designates the executor as the person designated to perform those functions. If another person is named in the will who has the right to control the funeral and disposition of the deceased, the executor is responsible for informing the person of his or her appointment and informing them of the means available for funeral expenses. Most of the disagreements between family members when planning funeral arrangements stem from each family member`s sincere desire to honor the life of their loved one. The tension arises because each surviving family member has their own idea of what exactly this tribute should be. When they face the grief of their loss, it becomes much more difficult to deal with these disagreements. This is one of the reasons why pre-planning is so important for families.

Pre-planning allows you to appoint a person to make these decisions, and you can also leave specific instructions about your wishes regarding arrangements. This way, your loved ones will know exactly what you wanted to do and how to be honored. By completing your funeral preparation, you`ll show everyone in the family what you wanted to do, and then much of the tension (and potential family conflicts) will be avoided. If the deceased has not made his or her legal preferences known, the decision rests with the next of kin (next of kin). If the next of kin is unavailable or unable to make decisions of this nature, the next of kin`s hierarchy is followed until someone can be found who can make those decisions. If you are unsure about how your funeral arrangements can be managed at the time of your death, or if you are not sure if your loved ones will comply with your last wishes, consider naming a funeral home. A funeral home is a person specifically named in your will or attested on a government-approved and notarized document to manage your funeral arrangements. The executor does not automatically have the right to control your funeral and disposition unless the will contains specific wording. You should contact a lawyer to discuss your options and get additional advice on appointing a funeral home.

Then, after your spouse, this authority rests with all adult children. Minors are not allowed to make funeral decisions, so control would rest with someone else. However, adult children can make these decisions about funerals. They may already be planning the details of your funeral before they see your wishes. Telling them that you will add your funeral wishes to your will can be helpful so they know they need to ask for them as soon as possible. But keep in mind that there`s always a risk that they won`t get it early enough for funeral planning. The second method is to run a form approved by the New Jersey Cemetery Board. The form must be signed and notarized by the intended funeral director and two witnesses. The form can be found here on the New Jersey Cemetery Board website.

If you share the primary right to control a funeral with other family members (such as siblings, spouses, parents, etc.) but are unable to make an amicable decision, you may need to seek advice from a lawyer who will guide you through the application process to a court to give instructions on who has the final right of control.