Navigating Non-Traditional Next of Kin Relationships and Funeral Homes

Posted on December 2, 2019 by Williams Funeral Home under Funeral Home
Comments Off on Navigating Non-Traditional Next of Kin Relationships and Funeral Homes

Our definition of what makes a family is rapidly changing to be more inclusive and a better representation of all kinds of relationships. However, those with non-traditional next of kin relationships still might face a few difficulties or complications when it comes to funeral homes in Mount Pleasant, TN.

funeral homes in Mount Pleasant, TN

Keep reading to learn more about non-traditional relationships and funeral home services:

  • Same Sex Couples – Thanks to modern legislation, legally married same-sex couples have the exact same rights and next-of-kin spouse status as heterosexual couples. However, the 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 to 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.
  • Separated While Still Legally Married – Marriage is a complicated relationship, and oftentimes married couples are separated but not legally divorced. In this scenario, the spouse would be 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 funeral home or cremation plans.

Thanks to modern legislation and acceptance of non-traditional relationships, most states have a process in place for getting around difficulties with next of kin relationships. There is a form that people can fill out, sign and file to give a specific person the responsibility of all death-related decisions. This form, the Appointment For Disposition of Remains form, 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. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this document must be filed before death occurs in order to be valid.

If you want to learn more about legalities of next of kin relationship, you can always reach out to a lawyer for more information or get in touch with Williams Funeral Home & Crematory. We are a Mount Pleasant, TN funeral home located at 2517 Trotwood Ave, Columbia, TN 38401. Call (931) 388-2135 today.