1. The right to control final disposition of a decedent‘s remains or to make arrangements for the ceremony after a decedent’s death vests in and devolves upon the following persons who are competent adults at the time of the decedent’s death, in the following order:

 a. A designee, or alternate designee, acting pursuant to the decedent’s declaration.
 b. The surviving spouse of the decedent, if not legally separated from the decedent, whose whereabouts is reasonably ascertainable.
 c. A surviving child of the decedent, or, if there is more than one, a majority of the surviving children whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 d. The surviving parents of the decedent whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 e. A surviving grandchild of the decedent, or, if there is more than one, a majority of the surviving grandchildren whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 f. A surviving sibling of the decedent, or, if there is more than one, a majority of the surviving siblings whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 g. A surviving grandparent of the decedent, or, if there is more than one, a majority of the surviving grandparents whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 h. A person in the next degree of kinship to the decedent in the order named by law to inherit the estate of the decedent under the rules of inheritance for intestate succession or, if there is more than one, a majority of such surviving persons whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable.
 i. A person who represents that the person knows the identity of the decedent and who signs an affidavit warranting the identity of the decedent and assuming the right to control final disposition of the decedent’s remains and the responsibility to pay any expense attendant to such final disposition. A person who warrants the identity of the decedent pursuant to this paragraph is liable for all damages that result, directly or indirectly, from that warrant.
 j. The county medical examiner, if responsible for the decedent’s remains.

Terms Used In Iowa Code 144C.5

  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Ceremony: means a formal act or set of formal acts established by custom or authority to commemorate a decedent. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • Child: means a son or daughter of a person, whether by birth or adoption. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Decedent: means a deceased adult. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • Declaration: means a written instrument that is executed by a declarant in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, and that names a designee who shall have the sole responsibility and discretion for making decisions concerning the final disposition of the declarant's remains and the ceremonies planned after the declarant's death. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • Designee: means a competent adult designated under a declaration who shall have the sole responsibility and discretion for making decisions concerning the final disposition of the declarant's remains and the ceremonies planned after the declarant's death. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • executor: includes administrator, and the term "administrator" includes executor, where the subject matter justifies such use. See Iowa Code 4.1
  • Final disposition: means the burial, interment, cremation, removal from the state, or other disposition of remains. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • following: when used by way of reference to a chapter or other part of a statute mean the next preceding or next following chapter or other part. See Iowa Code 4.1
  • Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
  • person: means individual, corporation, limited liability company, government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership or association, or any other legal entity. See Iowa Code 4.1
  • Remains: means the body or cremated remains of a decedent. See Iowa Code 144C.2
  • Third party: includes but is not limited to a funeral director, funeral establishment, cremation establishment, cemetery, the state medical examiner, or a county medical examiner. See Iowa Code 144C.2
 2. A third party may rely upon the directives of a person who represents that the person is a member of a class of persons described in subsection 1, paragraph “c”, “e”, “f”, “g”, or “h”, and who signs an affidavit stating that all other members of the class, whose whereabouts are reasonably ascertainable, have been notified of the decedent’s death and the person has received the assent of a majority of those members of that class of persons to control final disposition of the decedent’s remains and to make arrangements for the performance of a ceremony for the decedent.
 3. A third party may await a court order before proceeding with final disposition of a decedent’s remains or arrangements for the performance of a ceremony for a decedent if the third party is aware of a dispute among persons who are members of the same class of persons described in subsection 1, or of a dispute between persons who are authorized under subsection 1 and the executor named in a decedent’s will or a personal representative appointed by the court.