You are here:

Funerals/COMMON LAW FUNERAL RIGHTS.

Advertisement


Question
If this lady and I wish to live together as husband and wife, as in common law, do we have to have papers drawn up by and attorney and go to all that expense? Are papers even necessary in the state of SC. Further she has one cousin left alive in her family, this is all. Me and Jan are in agreement we would have a traditional burial. Her cousin wants her cremated. Both me and Jan I disagree with the cremation of Jan's body in the event of her death. Can he step in on me and do this without my concent as the last surviving family memeber. Do we need legal papers to stop this. Do we need a court hearing or an attorney to issue cease and desist papers thru the court sustem. Further, what is to stop him from doing this anyway? That is do I need to file the papers everywhere just to stop him as he is gun ho to have step in and not consider our wishes.

Answer
Section 32-11-10 of SC statutes allows you to name any person you like (it does not have to be your next of kin) to carry out your funeral wishes. You must do so in a " will or other verified and attested document." OUR ADVICE --- Do NOT use a will to assign this power to someone. Why? Because the will usually isn't read until after your body is disposed of. Instead, draw up a short, dated document stating that you give such-and-such person the sole right to make arrangements for your disposition, as allowed by SC Code 32-11-10. Date the document, and have it notarized. Make sure your survivors have a copy. I think the town clerk is usually a notary.

Funerals

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Lisa Carlson

Expertise

Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.

Experience

I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.