Physical Aspects of Death
Beginning July 1, 2000 the Living Will form is found in Part 2 of the Advanced Health Care Directive . Cal. Health and
Safety Code § 4701 (West 2000). This section also contains the
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form, organ and tissue donation form, and designation
of physician to have primary responsibility for your health care. The old statutory living will can be found in the California Health and Safety Code sections 7185-7194.5.
For those with an altruistic desire, ecological reason, or financial need to donate his or her body to medical science it is important to complete an anatomical gift card. This card can be printed and carried in your wallet.
DISPOSITION OF BODY
California provides a statutory priority order for the disposition of the remains unless
other directions have been given by the decedent pursuant to Section 7100.1 (explained below). The priority order is as follows:
If any person to whom the right of control has vested pursuant to the above list, has been charged with first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent's death, the right of control is relinquished and passed on to the next of kin in accordance with the priority order above. Cal. Health and Safety Code § 7100 (West 2000).
- an agent under a durable power of attorney for health care
- competent surviving spouse
- sole surviving competent adult child of the decedent, or the majority of the surviving competent adult children
- surviving competent parent or parents of the decedent
- surviving competent adult person or persons respectively in the next degrees of kindred
- public administrator when the deceased has sufficient assets
A decedent, prior to death, may direct, in writing, the disposition of his or her remains and specify funeral goods and services to be provided. These directions shall be faithfully carried out and not altered as long as directions set forth clearly and completely the final wishes of the decedent, and arrangements for payment have been made. If the directions are contained in a will, they shall be immediately carried out, regardless of the validity of the will in other respects. Cal. Health and Safety Code § 7100.1 (West 2000).