NYS Law Update – New Right To Decide In Advance Who Will Handle Your Funeral/Burial Arrangements

Sept. 1, 2006 – A New York law recently taking effect now gives domestic partners the right to control the disposition of the remains of a decease partner when one of the partners dies (See New York’s Public Health Law Sec. 4201, which is effective as of 8/2/06).

The new law places a domestic partner, just like a spouse, ahead of parents, children, or other blood relatives in terms of funeral decisions.

Under the new statute, top priority goes to the person designated in a written document signed by the deceased. A simple statutory form has been created to make such a written designation easy to accomplish.

This type of law is important not only to unmarried couples, but to all unmarried Americans. While it has always been assumed that a surviving spouse will control funeral arrangements, things can get difficult when a single person dies, and estranged relatives try to step ahead of a surviving partner in making final funeral related arrangements.

This new law gives people the right to decide, in advance, who will handle their funeral arrangements provided they execute the correct paperwork in advance.

Please call us if you would like to discuss this new law and its place in your personal financial and estate planning.