DOD Working with States to Resolve Disposition Issue

December 11, 2009
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imageThe Department of Defense (DOD) is asking states to consider amending their laws on the disposition of human remains to recognize the DD Form 93 as the authoritative written instrument for service members.

Service members are required to designate and authorize someone to direct their disposition (called a PADD or ?Person Authorized to Direct Disposition?) on the DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data, as required by Title 10 United States Code. The form requires the name and contact information of the PADD, and the signature of the service member and one witness. Service members can only choose his or her ?surviving spouse, blood relative of legal age, or adoptive relatives. If neither of these three can be found, a person in loco parentis may be named.?

The PADD might not be recognized in states where there is no provision for a designated agent, however, and might be questioned in states where the DD Form 93 does not materially equate to the documentation required by the state to designate an agent. Family disputes and civil actions have resulted from the confusion surrounding who has authority to make disposition decisions. Eliminating this possible conflict with federal law might reduce the potential for family conflict at a time of bereavement. Therefore, the DOD is asking states to consider amending their laws on the disposition of human remains to recognize the DD Form 93 as the authoritative written instrument for service members.

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NFDA supports the DOD’s efforts and encourages state funeral service associations to work with local military groups to introduce legislation that recognizes the DD Form 93 as the authoritative written instrument for service members. For more information, visit http://www.usa4militaryfamilies.dod.mil.

Source: NFDA

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