2007 WISCONSIN ACT 58
An Act to renumber 69.18 (4) (a) 1.; to amend 69.20 (2) (a) 2.; to repeal and recreate chapter 154 (title); and to create 69.18 (4) (a) 1g. and subchapter IV of chapter 154 [precedes 154.30] of the statutes; relating to: control of final disposition of certain human remains and providing a penalty.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
69.18 (4) (a) 1. of the statutes is renumbered 69.18 (4) (a) 1m.
69.18 (4) (a) 1g. of the statutes is created to read:
69.18 (4) (a) 1g. An individual specified under s. 154.30 (2) (b).
69.20 (2) (a) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
69.20 (2) (a) 2. For a certificate of death, any of the persons specified under s. 69.18 (4) (a) 1. 1g. to 6. or an individual who is authorized in writing by one of the persons.
Chapter 154 (title) of the statutes is repealed and recreated to read:
Subchapter IV of chapter 154 [precedes 154.30] of the statutes is created to read:
authorization for final disposition
154.30 Control of final disposition of certain human remains. (1) Definitions. (a) "Authorization for final disposition" means a written, signed document that is acknowledged before a notary public or is witnessed and that is voluntarily executed by a declarant under sub. (8), but is not limited in form or substance to that provided in sub. (8).
(b) "Cemetery authority" has the meaning given in s. 157.061 (2).
(c) "Credential" has the meaning given in s. 440.01 (2) (a).
(d) "Crematory authority" has the meaning given in s. 440.70 (9).
(e) "Declarant" means an individual who executes an authorization for final disposition.
(f) "Estranged" means being physically and emotionally alienated for a period of time, at the time of the decedent's death, and clearly demonstrating an absence of due affection, trust, and regard.
(g) "Final disposition" means disposition of a decedent's remains, including any of the following:
1. Arrangements for a viewing.
2. A funeral ceremony, memorial service, graveside service, or other last rite.
3. A burial, cremation and burial, or other disposition, or donation of the decedent's body.
(h) "Funeral director" has the meaning given in s. 445.01 (5).
(i) "Health care provider" means any individual who has a credential to provide health care.
(L) "Representative" means an individual specifically designated in an authorization for final disposition or, if that individual is unable or unwilling to carry out the declarant's decisions and preferences, a successor representative designated in the authorization for final disposition to do so.
(m) "Social worker" has the meaning given in s. 252.15 (1) (er).
(2) Individuals with control of final disposition; order. (a) Notwithstanding s. 445.14 and except as provided in par. (b) and sub. (3), any of the following, as prioritized in the following order, who is at least 18 years old and has not been adjudicated incompetent under ch. 54 or ch. 880, 2003 stats., may control final disposition, including the location, manner, and conditions of final disposition:
1. Subject to sub. (8) (e), a representative of the decedent acting under the decedent's authorization for final disposition that conveys to the representative the control of final disposition, or a successor representative.
2. The surviving spouse of the decedent.
3. The surviving child of the decedent, unless more than one child of the decedent survives. In such an instance, the majority of the surviving children has control of the final disposition, except that fewer than the majority of the surviving children may control the final disposition if that minority has used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving children and is not aware of opposition by the majority to the minority's intended final disposition.
4. The surviving parent or parents of the decedent or a surviving parent who is available if the other surviving parent is unavailable after the available surviving parent has made reasonable efforts to locate him or her.
5. The surviving sibling of the decedent, unless more than one sibling of the decedent survives. In such an instance, the majority of the surviving siblings has control of the final disposition, except that fewer than the majority of the surviving siblings may control the final disposition if that minority has used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving siblings and is not aware of opposition by the majority to the minority's intended final disposition.
6. In descending order, an individual in the class of the next degree of kinship specified in s. 990.001 (16).
7. The guardian of the person, if any, of the decedent.
8. Any individual other than an individual specified under subds. 1. to 7. who is willing to control the final disposition and who attests in writing that he or she has made a good-faith effort, to no avail, to contact the individuals under subds. 1. to 7.
(b) Control of final disposition under par. (a), in the order of priority specified in par. (a), is restored to an individual specified in sub. (3) (b) 1. for whom charges under sub. (3) (b) 1. a. to d. are dismissed or who is found not guilty of the offense. Subject to s. 69.18 (4), the control of final disposition under this paragraph, with respect to a decedent for whom disposition has already been made of his or her remains, is limited, as appropriate, to any of the following:
1. A funeral ceremony, memorial service, graveside service, or other last rite.
3. Reinterment, cremation and reinterment, or other disposition of the decedent's body.
(3) Exceptions. (a) All of the following are exceptions to any control conferred under sub. (2):
1. The disposition of any unrevoked anatomical gift made by the decedent under s. 157.06 (2) or made by an individual other than the decedent under s. 157.06 (3) or (4).
2. Any power or duty of a coroner, medical examiner, or other physician licensed to perform autopsies with respect to the reporting of certain deaths, performance of autopsies, and inquests under ch. 979.
(b) None of the following is authorized under sub. (2) to control the final disposition:
1. Unless sub. (2) (b) applies, an individual who is otherwise authorized to control final disposition under the order of priority of individuals specified in sub. (2) (a) but who has been charged with any of the following in connection with the decedent's death and the charges are known to the funeral director, crematory authority, or cemetery authority:
a. First-degree intentional homicide under s. 940.01 (1).
b. First-degree reckless homicide under s. 940.02.
c. Second-degree intentional homicide under s. 940.05.
d. Second-degree reckless homicide under s. 940.06.
2. An individual who is otherwise authorized to control final disposition under the order of priority of individuals specified in sub. (2) (a) but who fails to exercise this authorization within 2 days after he or she is notified of the decedent's death or who cannot be located after reasonable efforts to do so has been made.
3. The decedent's spouse, if an action under ch. 767 to terminate the marriage of the spouse and the decedent was pending at the time of the decedent's death.
4. An individual for whom a determination is made under by the probate court under par. (c) 2. b. that the individual and the decedent were estranged at the time of death.
(c) If the individuals on the same level of priority specified in sub. (2) (a) are unable to agree on the final disposition, the probate court that has jurisdiction for the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death may designate an individual as most fit and appropriate to control the final disposition. All of the following apply to a designation made under this paragraph:
1. After the decedent's death, a petition regarding control of the final disposition shall be filed with the probate court by any of the following:
a. A relative of the decedent.
b. An individual seeking control of the final disposition who claims a closer personal relationship to the decedent than the decedent's next of kin and who was not in the employ of the decedent or the decedent's family.
c. If 2 or more individuals on the same level of priority in sub. (2) (a) cannot, by majority vote, decide concerning the final disposition, any of those individuals or the funeral director, crematory authority, or cemetery authority that possesses the decedent's remains.
2. The probate court may consider all of the following:
a. The reasonableness and practicality of the proposed final disposition.
b. The degree of the personal relationship between the decedent and each of the individuals claiming the right of final disposition, including whether the decedent was estranged from any of the individuals.
c. Except as provided in subd. 3., the desires of the individual or individuals who are ready, able, and willing to pay the cost of the final disposition.
d. The express written desires of the decedent.
e. The degree to which any proposed final disposition would permit maximum participation by family members, friends, and others who wish to pay final respects to the decedent.
3. An individual's payment or agreement to pay for all or part of the costs of final disposition, or the fact that an individual is the personal representative of the decedent, does not, by itself, provide the individual any greater opportunity to control the final disposition than the individual otherwise has under this section.