Trusts & Estates
You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Inconsistent State Statutes Frustrate Decedent Control Over Funeral Planning
Americans have more choices than ever before with respect to the disposition of their remains after death. For some people, the choice of burial place, or the election to have their remains cremated, is the final opportunity to express and fulfill important values. American common law has long provided decedents with the broad right to direct the disposition of their own remains after death. However, an inconsistent patchwork of state statutes has complicated and frustrated this fundamental common law right. Many states require decedents to comply with strict formalities, or prohibit decedent control outright.