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Rep. Dutton Jr., Harold V.

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BILL PREVENTS KILLER SPOUSES FROM MAKING BURIAL DECISIONS  print page

by: Rep. Dutton Jr., Harold V.
04/18/2011

AUSTIN, TX – When a person dies, usually a relative decides how to dispose of the decedent’s remains. But what happens if that relative caused the person’ death. Well, until now Texas law made no such distinction. However, the Texas House recently passed HB-549 by Rep. Harold V. Dutton, Jr. (Houston) which prevents the relative who killed the person from making any decisions regarding the decedent’s burial.

Existing Texas law provides a hierarchy of persons who are empowered to make burial decisions when a decedent fails to leave written instructions regarding their burial. For example, a spouse has the exclusive right to make burial decisions concerning a deceased spouse -- even when the decision maker actually caused the death of the spouse.

Rep. Dutton stated: “spouses who kill the other spouse should lose their right to make decisions on disposing of a spouses remains. The existing law ignores Texas families cry for relief during a most difficult time for a family in crisis.” Susan Moore, testifying in favor of HB-549, stated: “my best friend was murdered by her spouse who refused to allow her loved ones to have a traditional funeral and held up her funeral for weeks. Why a killer-spouse even has this power baffles me."

HB-549 is awaiting action in the Texas Senate.


CONTACT: Stephanie Russell
(512) 463-0510

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