When the need arises, our staff at Mountain View Funeral Home can help you with all of the details for funeral arrangements. We have been in the funeral home business since 1951 and can assist you if you’re pre-planning for your own arrangements or if you have been designated to care for the funeral of a loved one.
There are situations, however, when the party responsible for making funeral decisions can be unclear or even contested. Because a funeral requires many important decisions, it can be problematic if there is more than one person who has an opinion on what should be done. Add in situations where there are religious differences, geographic distance, or family division, and things can be more than challenging. In such cases, we’d like to offer some guidance on how to handle things.
If the loved one who passed designated someone to make choices regarding their funeral, then that preference should be honored. Such a designation is usually made in legal documents such as a Last Will and Testament or a Living Will. It might also have been made in a notarized Authorization for Final Disposition, Disposition Authorization Affidavit, or Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
If, however, the deceased did not legally designate someone, the decision falls to the nearest relative (also known as next of kin). If that person is unavailable or unable to make decisions for whatever reason, a next-of-kin hierarchy is followed until someone is found who can make these decisions.
If the cause of death was an unfortunate accident that also injured the next of kin, the person with the right to control disposition might be temporarily unable or incapable of making arrangements. In such cases, the degree of incapacity needs to be determined. This is usually done by the doctor who is caring for that person. In cases where the nearest relative may be temporarily incapacitated, it is often advised to wait until they become capable and able to make decisions.
At Mountain View Funeral Home, we know that losing a loved one is difficult enough. Dealing with family disputes on top of it all makes it even harder. In our experience, we have see that the best solution is to put personal preferences aside and think about what your loved one would have wanted. That is what is truly important.