Michigan does not permit the present owner of a human body to direct its disposition after death – that would violate the due process rights of post-mortem owners of the body, as previously mentioned in this blog. This is a problem for someone who wants to be cremated. Unless a living spouse signs the authorization to have the body cremated, after death, cremation requires unanimous consent of the next of kin. This usually means that all of the children have to approve. If a son or daughter refuses, or cannot be contacted, cremation is out of the question.
There is a way for those who want to stymy the objectors and pre-arrange cremation – out-of-state arrangements. Michigan’s neighboring states, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, all permit the appointment of a personal representative to authorize or pre-authorize final arrangements. These statutory forms are found at MS § 145C.16 in Minnesota, IC § 29-2-19 in Indiana, RC § 2108.70 in Ohio, and WS § 154.30 in Wisconsin. An individual can fill out and execute the forms, then make arrangements with a Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio or Wisconsin cremation services provider. A mortuary in these states can arrange for pick-up of the decedent in Michigan.
There is an interstate funeral services provider that can make this even easier. Their toll-free number is 877 615 3030 and the cremation authorization form is on their website.
It is smart to think about final arrangements ahead of time to avoid additional stress for your survivors. This is an item that your estate-planning attorney can discuss with you. Your attorney can also facilitate your desired arrangements, particularly if there is a concern about Medicaid for nursing care.
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
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