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(a) The right to control disposition of the last remains or ceremonial arrangements of a decedent vests in and devolves upon the following persons, at the time of the decedent's death, in the following order:
(1) The decedent if acting through a declaration instrument;
(2) The surviving spouse of the decedent, if not legally separated from the decedent;
(3) Either the appointed personal representative or administrator of the decedent's estate if such person has been appointed; or the nominee for appointment as personal representative under the decedent's will if a personal representative or administrator has not been appointed;
(4) A majority of the surviving adult children of the decedent whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable;
(5) The surviving parents or legal guardians of the decent whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable;
(6) A majority of the surviving adult siblings of the decedent whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable;
(7) The person in the classes of the next degree of kinship, in descending order, under the laws of descent and distribution to inherit the estate of the decedent. If there is more than 1 person of the same degree, any person of that degree may exercise the right of disposition;
(8) In the absence of any person under paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(6) of this section, any other person willing to assume the responsibilities to act and arrange the final disposition of the decedent's remains, including the personal representative of the decedent's estate or the funeral director with the custody of the body, after attesting in writing that a good faith effort has been made to no avail to contact the individuals under paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(6) of this section;
(9) The public administrator for the decedent's estate.
(b) To exercise the right to control final disposition pursuant to paragraph (a)(5) of this section, the majority of parents and guardians shall act in writing.
(c) If the assent of multiple persons under paragraph (a)(4), (a)(5), or (a)(6) of this section cannot be obtained, a final judgment of the Chancery Court of the county of the decedent's residence shall be required to exercise the right to control final disposition. Such final judgment shall be consistent with the decedent's last wishes to the extent they are reasonable under the circumstances.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this subchapter to the contrary, a United States Department of Defense Record of Emergency Data Form (DD Form 93) executed by a declarant who thereafter dies while serving in any branch of in the United States Military, as defined 10 U.S.C. § 1481, shall constitute a valid form of declaration instrument and shall govern the disposition of such declarant's last remains, unless a subsequent declaration instrument has been executed by the declarant.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Delaware Code Title 12. Decedents' Estates and Fiduciary Relations § 264. Right to dispose of remains - last updated January 01, 2019 | https://codes.findlaw.com/de/title-12-decedents-estates-and-fiduciary-relations/de-code-sect-12-264/
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