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Three recent cases present the question of who gets to decide where a person is buried.  After months of arguing, James Brown, “The Godfather of Soul” was finally buried as was Anna Nichole Smith, a/k/a Vickie Lynn Marshall and finally Ricky Holland, who remains in limbo.  Until recently the answer in Michigan was not all that clear.  Michigan has now passed laws that provide who has the right to make funeral arrangements.  The law now provides that the spouse is presumed to have the right to make these decisions. If there is no spouse then the children, and if there are no children then the parents of the deceased. In the case where there is more than one person with an equal right to make the decision, such as children, then the majority rules. And if a majority cannot agree, then it is off to court; which is what happened to Anna and James. Ricky is slightly different, in that his remains are still considered evidence pending the appeals.

Donations of body parts has a similar setup with the addition that a designated patient advocate is first in line to make the donation then the spouse, children, etc.  If this raises any questions, give our office a call.


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