In Michigan, funeral directors used to carry the burden of deciding who are considered to be surviving spouse when a person passed away. After the new legislation which was by the Governor Rick Snyder last week, this task which is accomplished for the sake of funeral arrangements will no longer be a responsibility by the funeral director.
There has always been an order in Michigan when it comes to the person who will be assigned to the funeral arrangements of the person who pass away. The first in line is if there is any designated individual, if none then the surviving spouse will take over. If there is no surviving spouse, the children will be in charged. Next in the order are grandchildren, parents, grandparents and last are the siblings.
According to the R-Grand Ledge’s Senator Rick Jones who is responsible for the Senate Bill 39, there are instances where in the definition of a surviving spouse can be vague because of laws in marriage and separation.
Jones said that they passed the new law because of the increasing number of cases wherein funeral directors in Michigan were burdened with the decision of who is the qualified surviving spouse.
It is a norm in today’s society to see married couple going their separate way but not getting their marriage legally void. When this happens, the spouses could go on with their separate lives and in some cases they get to meet a significant other. When the person passes away, this is when the problem comes to the scene. Who is qualified to decide for the funeral arrangements?
With the new legislation, the legal spouse will be automatically referred to as the surviving spouse. In case of a dispute, the funeral director should not be burdened but the case should be presented to the probate court system.
After the issue has been brought up by the Michigan Funeral Directors Association is when Jones decided to come up with the legislation. This is an issue that is commonly faced by funeral directors all over the world including funeral directors in Perth.