Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shine on Brightly

A friend called, recently, asking what she should do with a relative’s ashes. She had found them in a closet in a Tupperware container, much to her surprise. I was reminded of Section 711.002 of the Texas Health & Safety Code, which sets out the priority for possessing a decedent’s remains and the duty to inter them. The Code also provides the form for appointing an agent to control disposition of remains. A handy and oft overlooked estate planning document that everyone needs and is particularly important if there is a family squabble about who controls the remains, what shall be done with them (cremation vs. burial), or where they shall be placed (an urn vs. burial with a spouse? If there is more than one spouse, then who should be interred with whom?).

Chatting at the proverbial water cooler with elder lawyers at the probate court, they chimed in, spinning yarns of potentially unlawful situations detailing the blow-back of ashes scattered from a chartered airplane to the payment made to a captain of an ocean-going vessel with instructions to cast the urn into the depths, hundreds of miles out to sea.

However, the most beautiful and creative use of ashes may be found at the online fine art gallery, “Shine on Brightly,” selling the newest variation on the theme of memento mori. But “Shine on Brightly” offers not just the memorial jewelry of old but memorial art—fine art, that is, including dichroic glass pendants, handmade textiles, custom books, memorial painting, and urns fashioned of wood, glass, and hand-made ceramics. See

Like other estate planning documents, the appointment of an agent to control disposition of remains provides certainty and peace of mind. Let your loved ones know what you want and what you don’t want. Be sure to write it down and leave your estate plans in a safe location where they can be accessed easily and timely.


About Lisa C Smith

Attorney Lisa C. Smith believes that many legal problems can be resolved by working out agreements, legal documents, and creative solutions for businesses and families. Her goal is to provide quality legal representation with personal service and respect.

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