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Who can plan MY funeral

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Topic Founder & Author: Scott C. McCreery


Although caskets and coffins are used for the same purpose, they are two different things. A coffin is constructed with SIX sides, a top and a bottom, while a casket is constructed of FOUR sides, a top and a bottom. Coffins are what you have seen in old movies. They are still used in some foreign countries, however in the United States, we primarily use caskets.

Ohio’s right of disposition law.

While you are the person with the primary right to plan your own funeral, upon your death it is the responsibility of your descendants to follow through with those arrangements.  If they desire, these arrangements can be changed and may not be consistent with your wishes or the funeral pre-planning you may have completed.

The Ohio law that took effect on October 9, 2006 allows for an individual during his or her lifetime to appoint a representative who will have the top priority when it comes to making funeral and disposition arrangements.  If an individual appoints a representative in a document that meets the requirements of the new law, that representative has full authority, even over the contrary wishes of a spouse, to make funeral and disposition arrangements.

The law does set forth a very specific order of descendants with a right to plan your funeral:

1) The representative appointed by the decedent to have the right of disposition.

2)  The decedent’s surviving spouse.

3)  The decedent’s surviving child or children.

4)  The decedent’s surviving parent or parents.

5)  The decedent’s surviving sibling or siblings.

6)  The decedent’s surviving grandparent or grandparents

7)  The lineal descendants of the decedent’s grandparents as spelled out in Section 2105.06 of the Ohio Revised Code.

8)  The decedent’s personal guardian at the time of death.

9)  Any person willing to assume the right of disposition, including the personal representative of the estate or the licensed funeral director with custody of the body, after attesting in writing and good faith that they could not locate any of the persons in the above priority list.

In the event that several individuals of the same class cannot agree on funeral or disposition arrangements, the law permits the majority to control.  Additionally, if an individual cannot be located, the majority of those who are available will control.  For example,  if a widow dies with five adult children, two of whom want cremation, one of whom wants burial and two of whom cannot be located, the children who opt for cremation would prevail.  If there is not a majority present to resolve a dispute, any party, including the funeral director, may petition the probate court to decide the issue.

If you would like a copy of the state approved “Appointment of Representative for Disposition”, please call or email us.  We will mail you a copy or email a PDF version to you.

Please submit any questions or comments below. If you would like a response, please include your name and email or telephone number.


In this section

Green Funeral Services?

State Law & Burial Vaults?

Casket vs. Coffin?

Who can plan MY funeral

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