Legal Decision Making


If there is no Will designating an Executor or signed preplanning document directing a specified person to make decisions about disposition of the body, there is a legal order of authority which cannot be changed. 

a) the personal representative named in the will of the deceased (ie the executor of the estate)

b) the spouse (including same sex partnerships) of the deceased, if living with the deceased at the time of death, or a person who was living with the deceased as husband or wife for a continuous period of not less than two years

c) an adult child

d) a parent

e) an adult brother or sister

f) an adult nephew or niece

g) an adult next-of-kin determined by the Estate Administration Act

Under c) to g), the order of priority is from oldest to youngest. If a person is unavailable or unwilling to give instructions, the right passes to the next available qualified person.