This is the third blog entry in the series, "They're fighting over the body." This entry focuses on other methods that could be used to direct disposition of one's remains other than the designation of agent in an appointment document called "Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains."
The Texas Health and Safety Code at Section 711.002(g) provides that an individual may direct disposition of remains, including cremation, in a will, a prepaid funeral contract (also known as a preneed burial plan), or a written instrument signed and acknowledged by such person. As to a will, the Texas Health and Safety Code makes it quite clear that it need not be probated to make the directives enforceable. Specifically, 711.002(h) states:
If the directions are in a will, they shall be carried out immediately without the necessity of probate. If the will is not probated or is declared invalid for testamentary purposes, the directions are valid to the extent to which they have been acted on in good faith. As with any designation, it's important to remember that these decisions should be reviewed periodically to determine whether or not the persons named or the wished contained in them still fit your desires. These documents may be altered or revoked in a later writing signed and acknowledged by the principal or person who made the original designations and directions.
These options and how they fit into an individualized estate plan should be discussed with a qualified legal professional.
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