In Texas, the law regarding who is entitled to control a person’s cremated remains is complex and can vary depending on the circumstances. Generally speaking, a surviving spouse or partner has the right to control their deceased spouse’s cremated remains. If there is no surviving spouse or partner, then the next of kin may be entitled to control the cremated remains, depending on whether they are related by blood or marriage. Additionally, if multiple people have equal rights to control a person’s cremated remains, then all must agree for any action to be taken.
Texas Health and Safety Code 711.002 states that unless a decedent has left directions in writing for the disposition of the decedent’s remains, the following persons, in the priority listed, have the right to control the disposition, including cremation of the decedent’s remains, and are liable for the cost:
The person designated in a written instrument signed by the decedent (disposition of remains);
The decedent’s surviving spouse;
Any one of the decedent’s surviving adult children;
Either one of the decedent’s surviving parents;
Any one of the decedent’s surviving adult siblings;
Any one or more of the duly qualified executors or administrators of the decedent’s estate; or
Any adult person in the next degree of kinship in the order named by law to inherit the estate of the decedent.
Having a disposition of remains in place that clearly states where you want your remains to go will be very helpful to your loved ones in the event of your death.