Who Has The Right To Make Decisions
If there is a legal Will, the appointed Executor/Trustee is the Legal Representative of the deceased, even if that person is not the spouse.
If there is no Will and the deceased person is married, the spouse is the next of kin and has the legal right to make decisions. If there is no spouse then adult children, parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces/nephews in that order have the decision making authority.
If you are reading this and DO NOT HAVE A WILL, PLEASE have one drawn up. It is so very important for your family and anyone who will be dealing with all of the legalities. All financial institutions, government agencies, utilities, motor vehicle registration, offices, just to name a few, require that there be a Will or an Appointed Trustee to deal with the matters of an Estate.
An Estate is created when someone dies and is not based on the monetary value of what someone has.
A Legal Representative/Executor/Trustee or Next of Kin will need to sign a contract for arrangements/services with a Funeral Home or Transfer Service. Whoever signs the contract is then responsible to arrange for payment of those services.
The services of an attorney and accountant are often required but in varying degrees and depending on how well you have organized your own estate matters for when that time comes.
An Executor's role can be a daunting task and involve a great deal of work so it is important to get accurate advice and information if you are an Executor/Trustee. Be informed and ask questions. Whether dealing with a funeral professional, financial institutions, government agencies or any other professionals concerning estate matters, ASK QUESTIONS AND BECOME INFORMED.