2006 New Mexico Statutes - Section 24-12A-1 — Right to authorize cremation; definitions.

24-12A-1. Right to authorize cremation; definitions.

A.     Any adult may authorize his own cremation and the lawful disposition of his cremated remains by:   

(1)     stating his desire to be cremated in a written statement that is signed by the individual and notarized or witnessed by two persons; or   

(2)     including an express statement in his will indicating that the testator desired that his remains be cremated upon his death.   

B.     A personal representative acting pursuant to a will or Article 3 of Chapter 45 NMSA 1978 or a funeral establishment, a commercial establishment, a direct disposition establishment or a crematory shall comply with a statement made in conformance with the provisions of Subsection A of this section.  A statement that conforms to the provisions of Subsection A of this section is authorization to a personal representative, funeral establishment, commercial establishment, direct disposition establishment or crematory that the remains of the decedent are to be cremated. Statements dated prior to the effective date of this act are to be given effect if they meet the requirements of Subsection A of this section.   

C.     A personal representative, funeral establishment or crematory acting in reliance upon a document executed pursuant to the provisions of this section, who has no actual notice of revocation or contrary indication, is presumed to be acting in good faith.   

D.     No funeral establishment, commercial establishment, direct disposition establishment, crematory or employee of a funeral establishment, commercial establishment, direct disposition establishment or crematory or other person that relies in good faith on a statement written pursuant to this section shall be subject to liability for cremating the remains in accordance with the express instructions of a decedent.  The written document is a complete defense to a cause of action by any person against any other person acting in accordance with the instructions of the decedent.   

E.     As used in this section:   

(1)     "commercial establishment" means an office, premises or place of business that provides for the practice of funeral service or direct disposition services exclusively to licensed funeral or direct disposition establishments;   

(2)     "cremate" means to reduce a dead human body by direct flame to a residue that may include bone fragments; and   

(3)     "direct disposition establishment" means an office, premises or place of business that provides for the disposition of a dead human body as quickly as possible, without a funeral, graveside service, committal service or memorial service, whether public or private, and without embalming of the body unless embalming is required by the place of disposition.   
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