Non-Traditional Next of Kin Relationships and Cremation Services
Ground-breaking social restructuring and modern legislation are making our definition of what makes a family is more inclusive by the day. But it can still be a little challenging for those with non-traditional next of kin relationships when it comes to planning cremation services in Greenville, MI.
Use these tips and information to make sure you don’t miss a step when it comes to planning a service as a non-traditional family:
- Separated Yet Married – Marriage is a complicated relationship, and oftentimes married couples are separated but not legally divorced. In this scenario, the spouse would still be responsible for making all necessary funeral arrangements and paying for them. Unless there is a clear legal proof of divorce, the marriage is still valid, and the spouse is the next of kin. This is more common than you might think and is a confusing situation that causes a lot of delays in making a funeral home or cremation plans.
- Same-Sex Marriages – Thanks to modern legislation, legally married same-sex couples have the exact same rights and next-of-kin spouse status as heterosexual couples. However, this is only the case if the couple is legally married at the time of death. Without proof of a legal marriage, the funeral home or service will have to look to a different member of the family to take on final disposition responsibilities and decisions.
- Common Law Marriages – There are three criteria that have to be met in order for couples to be considered legally married under general Common Law. If you are married under Common Law, it’s important to know that it might be tricky for a funeral home or service to validate a Common Law Marriage after one of the people passes away. Unless a Declaration of Informal Marriage has been filed by a county clerk, many funeral homes will ask a different next of kin person to sign the necessary funeral documents as there are penalties involved in allowing a non-documented marriage to serve as legal standing to be a next of kin. To avoid any concerns or issues after a death, Common Law couples should file with the county clerk before a death.
Don’t forget to research your state’s laws and regulations. Most states have a process in place for getting around difficulties with next of kin relationships. Depending on the state, there is usually an Appointment for Disposition of Remains form that allows you to choose who you want to make your funeral arrangements and is valid at the vast majority of licensed funeral homes and cremation providers. It’s important to keep in mind that this document must be filed before death occurs in order to be valid. Also, be sure to look into the specificities of your state law to be as prepared as possible. You can always reach out to a lawyer for the most up-to-date information and guidance.
Reach out to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care if you have more questions about planning a Greenville, MI cremation service.