Preplanning for Cremation: Legalities You Need to Know.

Cremation is rapidly gaining popularity across the country as a method of disposition. A lot of creativity and romanticism is associated with cremation as a final wish...

…especially among individuals whose hometown is not their current area of residence or families who are spread apart across great distances.

However, when individuals fail to advance plan their cremation services there are likely to be legal complications in gaining the authorizations required for the cremation process, resulting in an alternative method of disposition necessary at the time of death.

What many consumers don’t realize is that all states govern their own individual funeral laws and regulations, therefore, every person should plan their cremation services in advance according to their state’s specific regulations (this will require inquiry with your preferred funeral establishment). According to the South Carolina Code of Law, “a person may authorize his or her own cremation and the final disposition of his or her cremated remains by executing a cremation authorization form (Section 32-8-315: A).” Of course, the person has the right to revoke this authorization at any time by providing written notice to the funeral establishment prior to the occurrence of their death. However, “ No person may revoke a cremation authorization form subsequent to the death of the person who executed the form and the instructions for cremation and disposition of the cremated remains must be complied with unless full payment for the cremation and disposition of the remains has not been received or guaranteed (Section 32-8-315: D).”

So many times at a funeral home I hear individuals say that their plan consisted of a power of attorney given over their affairs to a trusted loved one. Little did they know that document is null and void after their death, or that there were advance directives in their will, a document not able to be reviewed or enforced in a timely manner by probate court. What this means here in South Carolina, is the only way to ensure cremation for you or loved ones, is to make advance funded arrangements with a funeral service provider.

[frame]References
South Carolina Legislature. (2011). Title 32 – Contracts and Agents: Chapter 8 Cremation Authorizations And Procedures. Retrieved on June 17, 2012 from http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t32c008.php[/frame]

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