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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Giliberto-Hermann


If a decedent, prior to death, directs, in writing, the disposition of his or her remains and specify funeral goods and services to be provided, then those wishes are to be followed. (Cal. Prob. Code Section 7100.1)

California Probate Code Section 7100 answers the question posed in the title. The code provides an order for who has the right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the location and conditions of final resting place, and arrangements for funeral services and casket. The same individual(s) who have the duty of disposition are also liable for the reasonable costs associated with the disposition. The order includes the following:

  1. An agent under a power of attorney for health care where the agent makes a specific agreement to pay the costs of disposition or where the agent makes decisions concerning disposition that incur costs, in which case the agent is liable only for the reasonable costs incurred as a result of the agent’s decisions, to the extent that the decedent’s estate or other appropriate fund is insufficient.

  2. The competent surviving spouse.

  3. Sole surviving adult child (if only child).

  4. The majority of the surviving adult children if more than one adult children.

  5. The surviving competent parent or parent of the decent.

  6. The sole surviving competent adult sibling of the decedent (if only one sibling).

  7. The majority of the surviving adult siblings if more than one adult siblings.

  8. The surviving competent adult person or persons respectively in the next degrees of kinship or, if there is more than one surviving competent adult person of the same degree of kinship, the majority of those persons.

  9. Conservator of the person.

  10. Conservator of the estate.

  11. Public administrator.

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