«Return to Blog List Who has authority to arrange a cremation?
Cremation is often though of as a simple alternative to burial. Never-the-less, the paperwork involved in cremation can sometimes be much more complicated than burial. Because cremation is a final act that can not be reversed it is vital that the correct person who has authority to arrange the cremation sign the required Authorization for Cremation.
New Mexico is similar to most other states in that there is a clear order of authority. An individual is allowed in New Mexico to preauthorize their own cremation by signing a notarized statement authorizing there own cremation. If there is not a presigned authorization than the surviving relative(s) must sign the authorization. The order of authority is first the legally married spouse, followed by children, parents, brothers and sisters and finally an appointed caregiver (only if there is no living relatives).
Under all circumstance the legally married spouse has authority over other family members including children from a previous marriage. It is important to note that New Mexico does not recognize common law marriage. Because finding family at the time of death or the possibility that a family member may object to your wishes it is highly advisable that one take the time to document wishes and have it signed in front of a notary.
When a loved one dies it is natural that confusion and stress can complicate family decisions. It is for this reason that if one is considering cremation that a self authorization be done in advance to minimize family disputes. It is highly recommended to meet with a funeral planning professional so that the proper forms are completed and other wishes or desires be considered.
Finally, it is always important to take into consideration survivors needs and your family’s religious customs and heritage.