34-26-76. Forfeiture of right.

A person entitled under law to the right and duty of disposition forfeits that right and that duty, and the right and duty is passed on to the next qualifying person as listed in § 34-26-75, in the following circumstances:

(1)    Any person charged with first- or second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent’s death, and whose charges are known to the funeral director; provided, however that if the charges against the person are dismissed, or if the person is acquitted of the charges, the right of disposition is returned to the person;

(2)    Any person who does not exercise the person's right of disposition within two days of notification of the death of decedent or within three days of the date of possession of the decedent's remains by a funeral home, whichever is earlier;

(3)    If the person and the decedent are spouses and a petition to dissolve the marriage is pending at the time of decedent’s death; or

(4)    Where the court, pursuant to § 34-26-78, determines that the person entitled to the right of disposition and the decedent were estranged at the time of death. For purposes of this subdivision, the term, estranged, means a physical and emotional separation from the decedent at the time of death that has existed for a period of time that clearly demonstrates an absence of due affection, trust, and regard for the decedent.

Source: SL 2022, ch 113, § 3.