Under current law, when a loved one dies in Michigan, decisions regarding funeral arrangements and final disposition of the decedent’s remains are made by the next of kin. When there is more than one next of kin such as multiple children, a dispute might arise if the next of kin could not agree. Also, the next of kin have no legal obligation to follow the wishes of the decedent. As you might imagine, this has sometimes led to sharp disagreements amongst family members.
A new law that is expected to be signed by the governor will help change this. The law will allow the appointment of a “funeral representative” to be responsible for making all funeral arrangements. This is important legislation which was supported by the Michigan Funeral Directors Association. It is designed to require the representative to follow the known directions of the decedent. Hopefully this will help avoid some of the family disputes that sometimes would arise following the death of a loved one.
Most individuals have a preference regarding the type of funeral and service they want for themselves. To assure that your wishes are followed, it is critical that you consult with an experienced elder law attorney regarding your estate plan.