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 "Next of Kin"

a person's closest living blood relative, or relatives

According to Utah code 58-9-602 the right and duty

to control disposition of a deceased person

vests in the following order

(in layman's terms)

1st   A person designated in writing [print a form to do that here]

2nd The legally recognized spouse;

3rd  The person in a will who is set to be in charge of estate upon death

4th  The majority of the decedents' children over the age of 18 (less than ½ if no contact can be made and no objection is known of)

5th  The surviving parents (or parent if one can not be contacted), or lawful custodian.

6th  A surviving brother or sister or majority of such

7th  Other relatives, in order of degree of kinship

8th  Any public official

9th  Any other willing person, after attesting in writing that a good faith effort has been made to contact any of the above.


Assigning the right to control disposition of remains is so important because too much conflict arises when your after death preferences are not declared in writing (available in some other states, not Utah) or the right divests to next-of-kin (such as equally to both divorced parents or a majority of siblings) who don't agree or who won't share cremated remains.

Three ways you lose your right to control disposition of remains:

58-9-603. Loss of right of disposition

  (1) As used in this section, "estranged" means a physical and emotional separation from the decedent at the time of death which has existed for a period of time that clearly demonstrates an absence of affection, trust, and regard for the decedent.
  (2) A person who has a right of disposition under this chapter forfeits that right and the right is passed on to the next qualifying person as listed in Section 58-9-602 under the following circumstances:
    (a) the person is charged with first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent's death, and the charges are known by the funeral service director, except that if the charges against the person are dropped or if the person is acquitted of the charges, the right of disposition is returned to the person;
    (b) the person does not exercise the person's right of disposition within three days of notification of the decedent's death or within five days of the decedent's death, whichever is earlier; or
    (c) if a probate court under Section 58-9-605 determines that the person entitled to the right of disposition and the decedent were estranged at the time of death.

Last updated 2007 General Session 

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