The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 18: Health

Chapter 231: ADVANCE DIRECTIVES FOR HEALTH CARE AND DISPOSITION OF REMAINS

18 V.S.A. § 9712. Obligations of funeral directors, crematory operators, cemetery officials, procurement organizations, and individuals appointed to arrange for the disposition of the principal's remains



§ 9712. Obligations of funeral directors, crematory operators, cemetery officials, procurement organizations, and individuals appointed to arrange for the disposition of the principal's remains

(a) An individual appointed to arrange for the disposition of the principal's remains shall make those decisions based upon the principal's specific instructions contained in an advance directive or pre-need contract entered into with a funeral director, crematory operator, or cemetery official, or, if there are no such instructions, in accordance with the principal's wishes expressed orally or the knowledge of the agent or guardian of the principal's values or religious or moral beliefs.

(b) Any funeral director, crematory operator, or cemetery official having knowledge of a principal's advance directive shall follow the advance directive and any instructions of the individual appointed in an advance directive to arrange for the disposition of the principal's remains, except:

(1) if any instruction would cause the director, operator, or official to violate the standards of professional conduct required by a professional licensing board or agency or any criminal law, the director, operator, or official shall notify the individual appointed that the director, operator, or official cannot follow the instruction; or

(2) if the principal's estate is without sufficient funds to dispose of the remains or provide funeral goods and services in accordance with the advance directive, the disposition shall occur in a manner approximating the principal's wishes to the extent it is financially possible.

(c) Any procurement organization having knowledge of a principal's advance directive shall follow the advance directive and any instructions of the individual appointed in the advance directive to arrange for the recovery of the principal's anatomical gifts unless the procurement organization determines such gifts are unsuitable for the purposes for which they are made or if recovery of such gifts would cause the procurement organization to violate standards of professional conduct or any applicable regulation or law.

(d) Every funeral director, crematory operator, cemetery official, and procurement organization shall develop systems:

(1) to ensure that a principal's advance directive is promptly available when services are to be provided, including that the existence of an advance directive is prominently noted on any file jacket or folder, and that a note is entered into any electronic database of the director, operator, official, or organization;

(2) within 120 days of the commissioner's announcing the availability of the registry, to ensure that the director, operator, official, or organization checks the registry at the time services are to be provided to determine whether the decedent has an advance directive.

(e) In the event the principal's instructions in an advance directive regarding disposition of remains or for funeral goods and services are in apparent conflict with a contract entered into by the principal for the disposition of remains, funeral goods, or services, the most recent document created by the principal shall be followed to the extent of the conflict. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as limiting any other available remedies. (Added 2005, No. 55, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2005; amended 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 335.)