Tenn. Code § 62-5-703

Updated March 21, 2018
62-5-703. Order in which rights to control vest

Except as set forth in § 62-5-704, and in the absence of disposition directions or a pre-need funeral contract, the right to control the disposition of the decedent's remains, the location, manner and conditions of disposition, and arrangements for funeral goods and services to be provided vests in the following persons in the order named; provided, that such person is a qualified adult:

(1) An attorney in fact designated in a durable power of attorney for health care who is acting pursuant to § 34-6-204;

(2) The surviving spouse;

(3) The sole surviving child of the decedent, or if there is more than one (1) child of the decedent, the majority of the surviving children. However, less than one half (1/2) of the surviving children shall be vested with the rights of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving children of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of more than one half (1/2) of all surviving children;

(4) The surviving parent of the decedent. If one (1) of the surviving parents is absent, the remaining parent shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section after reasonable efforts have been unsuccessful in locating the absent surviving parent;

(5) The surviving sibling of the decedent, or if there is more than one (1) sibling of the decedent, the majority of the surviving siblings. However, less than the majority of surviving siblings shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving siblings of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of more than one half (1/2) of all surviving siblings;

(6) The surviving grandchild of the decedent, or if there is more than one (1) surviving grandchild, the majority of the grandchildren. However, less than the majority of the surviving grandchildren shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving grandchildren of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of more than one half (1/2) of all surviving grandchildren;

(7) The surviving grandparent of the decedent, or if there is more than one (1) surviving grandparent, the majority of the grandparents. However, less than the majority of the surviving grandparents shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving grandparents of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions on the part of more than one half (1/2) of all surviving grandparents;

(8) The guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of the decedent's death, if one (1) had been appointed;

(9) The personal representative of the estate of the decedent;

(10) 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 one (1) person of the same degree, any person of that degree may exercise the right of disposition;

(11) If the disposition of the remains of the decedent is the responsibility of the state or a political subdivision of the state, the public officer, administrator or employee responsible for arranging the final disposition of the decedent's remains; or

(12) In the absence of any person listed in subdivisions (1)-(11), any other person willing to assume the responsibilities to act and arrange the final disposition of the decedent's remains, including the funeral director with custody of the body, after attesting in writing that a good faith effort has been made to no avail to contact the individuals listed in subdivisions (1)-(11).

History Acts 2012, ch. 828, § 2.