Iowa’s “Final Disposition Act”

Posted on: November 4th, 2019

Many people view estate planning as essential to ensuring a seamless transition of assets after their death while also seeking to eliminate any added stress or conflict that might arise among remaining family members. One area of planning often overlooked, however, includes designating the person responsible for someone’s final disposition (i.e., the person responsible for deciding whether to have the decedent buried, cremated, etc.)
Many people fail to consider who should be responsible for their final disposition simply because they assume their family will handle everything. While this is often the case when the decedent leaves a surviving spouse, the decision becomes trickier when the next line of kin include only children or grandchildren. In this scenario, Iowa Law states that decisions regarding the final disposition of a decedent must be made by a majority of the surviving class. This might seem like a minor detail to some, but it takes little imagination to foresee conflict arising amongst descendants when the time comes to determine whether to bury or cremate a loved one.
Thankfully Iowa law provides a simple and easy solution to this problem via the Declaration of Designee for Final Disposition. This form allows an individual to designate who will be responsible for their final disposition after death. A standard example would be a husband designating his wife as the primary designee and if she has predeceased him then designating a certain child as the contingent designee. The form is relatively short and can be easily completed when signing other estate planning documents.
If the Declaration of Designee for Final Disposition is something you are interested in completing, or if it is simply something you would like to know more about, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you however we can.

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