Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 28. Funeral Services
7/18/2024

§ 54.1-2807.01. When next of kin disagree.

A. In the absence of a designation under § 54.1-2825, when there is a disagreement among a decedent's next of kin concerning the arrangements for his funeral or the disposition of his remains, any of the next of kin may petition the circuit court where the decedent resided at the time of his death to determine which of the next of kin shall have the authority to make arrangements for the decedent's funeral or the disposition of his remains. The court may require notice to and the convening of such of the next of kin as it deems proper.

B. In determining the matter before it, the court shall consider the expressed wishes, if any, of the decedent, the legal and factual relationship between or among the disputing next of kin and between each of the disputing next of kin and the decedent, and any other factor the court considers relevant to determine who should be authorized to make the arrangements for the decedent's funeral or the disposition of his remains.

C. When there is a disagreement among a decedent's next of kin concerning the arrangements for his funeral or the disposition of his remains, at least one of the next of kin shall, within 48 hours of the funeral service establishment receiving the decedent's remains, notify such funeral service establishment of the dispute, at which time the funeral service establishment shall immediately stop making arrangements for the decedent's funeral or for the disposition of the decedent's remains until such time as an agreement is reached by the disputing next of kin or a court of appropriate jurisdiction has ruled on any petition filed by such disputing next of kin.

D. If there is a dispute regarding the identity of any persons who have the right to make arrangements and otherwise be responsible for the decedent's funeral and the disposition of such decedent's remains, a funeral service establishment shall not be liable for refusing to dispose of the decedent's remains or complete the arrangements for the final disposition of such remains until the funeral service establishment receives a court order or written agreement signed by the disputing next of kin that establishes the final disposition of the decedent's remains. If the funeral service establishment retains the decedent's remains for final disposition while any such dispute is pending, the funeral service establishment may embalm or refrigerate and shelter the decedent's body for preservation purposes until the dispute is resolved. Any person or persons adjudged or agreed to have the right to make arrangements and otherwise be responsible for the decedent's funeral and the disposition of the decedent's remains shall be responsible for any costs incurred by the funeral service establishment pursuant to this subsection.

2010, c. 383; 2024, c. 200.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.