Texas Guide to Disposition of Remains
This article by Legal Hospice of Texas explains how you can give a friend or family member the authority to make decisions about what happens to your body when you die. In Texas this is accomplished using a document called Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Any questions you may have should be directed to a legal professional.
If you die without having a written document that appoints someone to make decisions about your remains, then your “next of kin” will have the right to control what happens to your body. In Texas “next of kin” means your relative(s) in the following order:
- surviving spouse
- surviving adult children
- surviving adult siblings
In some cases a person’s next of kin may be a group of people, such as a group of adult children or a group of siblings.
The Disposition of Remains document allows you to select the person you feel will best carry out your wishes regarding what happens to your body at the time of your death. The person you assign can be a family member, significant other, or a close friend.
The document gives you the power to choose a person you trust to follow your wishes. It allows you to remove decision making from a group of people who may have differences of opinion regarding what should happen to your remains.
Your primary agent is your first choice for making decisions. The document allows you to name alternates in the event the primary agent is unable or unwilling to act. It is important to speak with your agents before completing the document to make sure they are comfortable following your wishes.
Of course, whomever you choose must be a competent adult—that is, someone at least 18 years old.