The death of a loved one can be one of the most difficult times of a person's life. This difficulty is multiplied when disputes arise regarding the final disposition of the loved one's bodily remains. There are unique issues that exist in disputes when human remains are involved that do not necessarily exist in other disputes that occur after death. Resolving these disputes involves looking to varying state laws that often use a status-based scheme that prioritizes who controls the remains. When a dispute exists regarding the disposition of remains there are a number of vehicles and avenues parties could take, some better than others for the particular situation. There also exist a number of means an individual could bypass the default status-based scheme in planning the individual's own disposition.
Making disposition directives more accessible and accepted would ensure an individual's wishes concerning disposition and memorial services are fulfilled. Furthermore, when a disposition dispute does arise, parties should seek the most suitable means to resolve the dispute in order to appropriately memorialize the decedent and maintain a healthy grieving process.
Walker, Shawn Irwin
"Over My Dead Body: Preventing and Resolving Disputes Regarding the Disposition of the Dead,"
ACTEC Law Journal: Vol. 43:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/acteclj/vol43/iss3/3