2012 District of Columbia Code
Section 3-413

Claim of human remains-Order of priority of next of kin

(a) Unless other directions have been given by the decedent, the right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the location and conditions of interment, and arrangements for funeral goods and services shall vest in the following in the order of priority named:

(1) The competent surviving spouse, or domestic partner, as defined under § 32-701(3);

(2) The sole surviving competent adult child of the decedent, or if there is more than one competent child of the decedent, the majority of the surviving competent adult children; provided, that less than a majority of the surviving competent adult children shall be vested with the rights and duties under this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving competent adult children of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions by more than a majority of all surviving competent adult children;

(3) The surviving competent parent or parents of the decedent; provided, that if one of the surviving competent parents is absent, the remaining competent parent shall be vested with the rights and duties under this section if reasonable efforts to locate the other parent are unsuccessful;

(4) The surviving competent adult person in the next degrees of kindred; provided, that if there is more than one surviving competent adult person of the same degree of kindred, the rights and duties under this section shall be vested in the majority of those persons; provided further, that less than the majority of surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kindred shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if those persons have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kindred of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions by more than a majority of all surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kindred; and

(5) An adult friend or volunteer.

(b)(1) Any competent adult may decide the disposition of the individual's remains after death and without the pre-death or post-death consent of any other person by executing a document, in accordance with this section, which expresses the individual's wishes regarding the disposition of his or her body.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any competent adult may designate an individual who shall be empowered to make decisions concerning the disposition of the human remains of the individual by executing a document in accordance with this section.

(B) The document shall include language that clearly communicates the individual's intent to have the person so designated make decisions regarding the disposition of the individual's human remains upon death. The document shall become effective upon the death of the individual choosing the representative.

(c) A document executed under subsection (b)(1) and (2) of this section shall be dated and signed by the individual delineating the disposition of his or her remains upon death under subsection (b)(1) of this section or designating a representative under subsection (b)(2) of this section.

(d) A person may revoke the document executed under this section in writing, at any time.

(e) A document executed under this section may be included as part of a document executed in accordance with subchapter II-A of Chapter 15 of Title 7.

CREDIT(S)

(May 22, 1984, D.C. Law 5-84, § 14, 31 DCR 1815; May 24, 1996, D.C. Law 11-129, § 2(b), 43 DCR 1568; Oct. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 14-28, § 902(a), 48 DCR 6981; Apr. 15, 2008, D.C. Law 17-145, § 30(a), 55 DCR 2532; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, § 230(f), 56 DCR 1117.)

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES

Prior Codifications
1981 Ed., § 2-2813.
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 14-28 rewrote subsec. (a) which had read as follows:
“(a) The oldest adult member of each class shall have prior claim of the human remains over the others in the same class, as follows: Spouse, adult child, father, mother, adult brother, adult sister, adult grandchild, adult nephew or niece, paternal grandparent, maternal grandparent, paternal uncle or aunt, maternal uncle or aunt, adult child of paternal uncle or aunt or adult child of maternal uncle or aunt, paternal great-grandparent, maternal great-grandparent, brother or sister of paternal grandparent, brother or sister of maternal grandparent, kindred of the spouse of the deceased in accordance with the preceding order of priority, or any adult friend or volunteer.”
D.C. Law 17-145, in subsec. (e), substituted “ subchapter II-A of Chapter 15 of Title 7” for “subchapter II of Chapter 15 of Title 7”.
D.C. Law 17-353 validated a previously made technical correction in subsec. (e).
Temporary Amendments of Section
For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Funeral Services Temporary Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Law 13-219, April 3, 2001, law notification 48 DCR 3461).
Emergency Act Amendments
For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of the Funeral Services Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-445, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9209).
For temporary (90 day) addition of § 3-413.01, see § 2(b) of the Funeral Services Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-445, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9209).
For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Funeral Services Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-8, March 2, 2001, 48 DCR 2487).
Legislative History of Laws
For legislative history of D.C. Law 5-84, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 3-401.
For legislative history of D.C. Law 11-129, see Historical and Statutory Notes following § 3-401.
For Law 14-28, see notes following § 3-101.
Law 17-145, the “Uniform Anatomical Gift Revision Act of 2008”, was introduced in Council and assigned Bill No.17-58 which was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary. The Bill was adopted on first and second readings on January 8, 2008, and February 5, 2008, respectively. Signed by the Mayor on February 25, 2008, it was assigned Act No. 17-311 and transmitted to both Houses of Congress for its review. D.C. Law 17-145 became effective on April 15, 2008.
For Law 17-353, see notes following § 3-308.

Current through September 13, 2012


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