What Can We Learn From Ed Sheeran?

Earlier this week, Ed Sheeran let it slip that he’s building a burial chamber on his Suffolk estate, which he refers to as “Sheeran-ville”.  The morbid addition to the Bad Habit singer’s home will be located in a church that is currently being constructed on his property.
As we can imagine, the extensive renovations and additions to the estate have caused quite a controversy among Ed’s neighbors. LOL. The cemetery brings new meaning to the words “quiet neighbors.”
While Ed spends his days on his planning permissions disputes, we can learn about Florida rules regarding funeral arrangements.
Disposition of loved ones has been heavily contested within the Florida Courts and luckily for us, the Florida Legislature passed a few laws to assist with these conflicts.
Fla. Sta. 497.002(2) provides that “[s]ubject to certain interests of society, the Legislature finds that every competent adult has the right to control the decisions relating to her or his own funeral arrangements.” I mean, I should hope so! It makes sense that we have the right to decide our own arrangements.
Fla. Sta. 497.005 states that if there is more than one legally authorized person who can claim a body for interment, then requests shall be prioritized by the medical examiner in accordance with the Florida intestacy statute that gives the order of family members who inherit if the person dies without a will. So, this rule is a bit less obvious. This statute states that if there is more than one Personal Representative (PR) and the PRs can’t agree on what to do with the body, the medical examiner (when did he get a law degree LOL) decides who should make the decision as to the body. The medical examiner’s decision is based on the Florida laws of intestacy, the rules as to who would inherit without a last will. Yikes!
To date, there isn’t much case law from the Florida courts to give us precedent and guidance as to how these laws are to be applied. The court cases that are on the books have the judges disagreeing on how these statutes are to be applied and when they are to be used.
One of the biggest legal controversies is how broad the decedent’s right to decide how his or her remains will be handled upon their passing. Another big open issue, decided differently among the Counties, is who gets to make these kinds of decisions when the decedent has died without leaving any written instructions.
There you have it folks. We learn that in Florida, if you have specific burial (or cremation) wishes, it’s very important to plan ahead and make those arrangements while you’re alive. Referencing them in a last will or as a separate document is a good start, but if you’re sure, sure, sure, it’s best to make those arrangements now. We would want to keep those papers in our very-important-papers folder with the rest of our estate plan. Making our arrangements ahead of time ensures that we get our actual wishes and prevents the possibility of misunderstanding as to our intentions.
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