A new Colorado law gives people added guarantees their funeral and burial wishes will be carried out as they desire.
Called the Disposition of Last Remains Act, HB 1312 went into effect Sept. 1. It protects people's decisions, as long as they are reasonable under the circumstances.
"This legislation is a major reversal for the people of Colorado," said Trey Holt, owner of Farnum-Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs. "The bill creates something of a living will with regard to final disposition, to prevent next of kin from violating the final wishes of the deceased."
Holt said prior to Sept. 1, these kinds of final wishes did not have to be carried out.
"State law allowed the surviving next of kin the ability to change your wishes for final funeral, burial or cremation preferences," he said.
The Declaration of Disposition of Last Remains legal form is available at Farnum-Holt and other funeral homes.
Attorney Dan Kerst said the declaration form does not have to be notarized.
"Just date it, and sign it," Kerst said.
The two-page form directs how a person's remains should be handled " by burial, cremation, entombment or another methods " as long as the option is permitted by law.
The form names a person to carry out the deceased person's final wishes as they pertain to funeral and memorial services, and gives the signer the option of authorizing organ and tissue donations.
Holt said the declaration may be made within a prepaid funeral burial or cremation contract with a mortuary or crematorium.
Kerst said the declaration can also be placed with a family member, executor, or in a file where that person's final written wishes are kept.
Holt said the declaration can help in several situations, including:
- A person is legally married, but estranged from his or her spouse.
- When surviving children may not agree on final disposition.
- Common-law spouses.
- Friends who the deceased considers as family, and who should be involved with final arrangements rather than family.
"These are just a few situations you will need to consider when planning your final arrangements," Holt said.
Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534