New regulations will take effect in Missouri August 28th about the disposition of dead bodies.

Senate Bill 116 was signed by Gov. Mike Parson earlier this month and sponsored by State Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla.

“It allows the physician to designate another person to enter the medical certification into the electronic death certificate system,” he said. “What that does (is) it allows the death certificate to be finalized immediately if they want it to be.”

That will enable family members to more quickly settle their loved one’s estate, close out checking accounts and cell phone numbers, and conclude other matters. The new law contains several other provisions, including one that would remove a deceased person’s spouse from the next of kin list if the couple had been in the midst of getting divorced.

“I mean, you can imagine some of the nightmare scenarios that happens in that situation,” Brown said. “(Under the new law), if they have filed for divorce and something happens to either spouse, their surviving spouse can’t take over the estate, can’t take over the funeral arrangements and things like that.”

The bill would also require notification of next of kin whenever a cemetery owner or operator moves a “properly buried” body to another location.

“Let’s say you have your four or five generations removed…and you may have, like, a great-great grandfather or mother or whatever, (the new law) deals with that,” Brown said. “If one of these bodies were moved because (of commercial) development or something like that, they have to notify the next of kin.”

Also under the old law, if someone with an inferior claim to the disposition of a deceased person wanted to exercise final control, they had to have written notification delivered in person to the superior party. The new law removes the requirement that written notifications have to be delivered in person.

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