PROFESSIONS, VOCATIONS, AND BUSINESSES
MORTICIANS, FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND EMBALMERS
54-1142. Authority in absence of or uncovered provisions in a prearranged funeral plan. (1) If the decedent has not made a prearranged funeral plan as set forth in section 54-1139, Idaho Code, or to the extent any provisions relating to the disposition of the person’s remains are not clearly covered in a prearranged funeral plan, the right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person or to determine provisions not clearly covered in a prearranged funeral plan vests in, and devolves upon the following in the order named:
(a) The person designated in a written document executed by the decedent and acknowledged in the same manner as required for instruments conveying real property, and subject to such limitations, restrictions, or directions, as may be set forth in such document or, the person designated by the decedent as authorized to direct disposition as listed on the decedent’s United States department of defense record of emergency data, DD form 93, or its successor form, if the decedent died while serving in military service as described in 10 U.S.C. 1481(a)(1) through (8) in any branch of the United States armed forces, United States reserve forces or national guard;
(b) The person designated as agent under a durable power of attorney for health care executed by the decedent, unless such durable power of attorney for health care contains express and clear language denying such right;
(c) The person designated in a durable power of attorney executed by the decedent, if such power of attorney contains express and clear language granting such right to the agent named in such power of attorney;
(d) The competent surviving spouse of the decedent;
(e) A majority of the competent surviving adult children of the decedent, provided that less than one-half (1/2) of the competent surviving adult children shall be vested with the right to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other competent surviving adult children of their instructions to dispose of the decedent’s remains and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of more than one-half (1/2) of all competent surviving adult children;
(f) The competent surviving parents or parent of the decedent, provided that if one (1) of the competent surviving parents is absent, the remaining competent surviving parent shall be vested with the right to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent after reasonable efforts have been made and are unsuccessful in locating the absent competent surviving parent;
(g) The person appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction as the personal representative or administrator of the estate of the decedent;
(h) The person nominated as the personal representative of the estate of the decedent in the will of the decedent;
(i) The competent adult person or persons entitled to inherit from the decedent under the intestate succession laws of the state of Idaho, respectively in the next degree of kinship, provided that if there is more than one (1) competent surviving adult person of the same degree of kinship, the majority of those persons, and provided further that less than the majority of competent surviving adult persons of the same degree of kinship shall be vested with the right to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent if those persons have used reasonable efforts to notify all other competent surviving adult persons of the same degree of kinship of their instructions to dispose of the decedent’s remains and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of one-half (1/2) or more of all competent surviving adult persons of the same degree of kinship;
(j) If the persons listed above fail to exercise their right to dispose of the remains of the deceased person within forty (40) days of the death of the deceased person, the person acting as guardian of the ward at the time of the ward’s death, or if no guardian was then acting, the person acting as conservator of the protected person at the time of the protected person’s death, has the authority to dispose of the deceased person’s remains, including cremation of the remains.
(2) If any person to whom the right of control has vested pursuant to the foregoing has been charged with first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent’s death, and those charges are known to the funeral director or cemetery authority, the right of control is relinquished and passed on to the next qualifying person as listed above as if the charged person did not exist; provided however, that if the charges against such person are dropped, or if such person is acquitted of the charges, the right of control is returned to the person.
(3) For purposes of this section:
(a) "Adult" means an individual who is eighteen (18) years of age or older;
(b) "Child" means a natural or adopted child of the decedent;
(c) "Competent" means the individual has not been declared incompetent by a court of law, or who has been declared competent by a court of law after a prior declaration of incompetence;
(d) "Durable power of attorney" means a power of attorney described in section 15-12-102, Idaho Code, or any similar document properly executed under the laws of another jurisdiction;
(e) "Durable power of attorney for health care" means the document described in chapter 45, title 39, Idaho Code, or any similar document properly executed under the laws of another jurisdiction;
(f) "Will" means any testamentary device which is valid under the Idaho probate code, including, but not limited to, sections 15-2-503, 15-2-504 and 15-2-506, Idaho Code, whether or not originally executed in, or under the laws of, the state of Idaho.
(4) (a) A cemetery authority or licensed funeral director or a licensed hospital or its authorized personnel may permit or assist in, and a physician may perform, an autopsy of any remains of a decedent in its custody:
(i) If the decedent, prior to his death, authorizes an autopsy in his will or in another written instrument, including, but not limited to, a durable power of attorney for health care; or
(ii) Upon the receipt of a written authorization signed by, telegrammed from, or received by facsimile transmission from, a person representing himself to be the person who is entitled under this section to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent, or to be a coroner or any other duly authorized public officer; or
(iii) Upon the receipt of an oral authorization obtained by telephone, and recorded on tape or other recording device, from a person representing himself to be the person who is entitled under this section to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent, or to be a coroner or any other duly authorized public officer.
(b) A cemetery authority or a licensed funeral director of a licensed hospital or its authorized personnel is not liable for permitting or assisting, and a physician is not liable for performing, an autopsy pursuant to the authorization provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection unless he has actual notice that such representation is untrue at the time the autopsy is performed. If such authorization is contained in a will, the autopsy may be performed regardless of the validity of the will in other respects and regardless of whether the will may not be offered for, or admitted to, probate until a later date.
(c) This subsection shall not authorize the obtaining of an oral authorization by telephone, recorded on tape or other recording device, for the autopsy of a deceased person if it is made known to the physician who is to perform the autopsy that the deceased person was, at the time of his death, a member of a religion or group which opposes autopsies.
(5) Persons designated in subsection (1) of this section have a direct and tangible interest in the death certificate of a decedent pursuant to section 39-270(b), Idaho Code.
[54-1142, added 1994, ch. 423, sec. 4, p. 1330; am. 2001, ch. 263, sec. 1, p. 964; am. 2005, ch. 120, sec. 6, p. 391; am. 2006, ch. 181, sec. 1, p. 560; am. 2008, ch. 186, sec. 3, p. 585; am. 2009, ch. 51, sec. 3, p. 133; am. 2010, ch. 43, sec. 1, p. 76; am. 2015, ch. 126, sec. 1, p. 319.]