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Last wishes – Teenager wins right for her body to be frozen after death

By November 18, 2016January 29th, 2021For Business

A terminally ill teenager who wanted her body to be cryogenically frozen in the hope she could “live longer” won a landmark legal battle shortly before she died.

The 14-year-old’s divorced parents had become embroiled in a dispute about whether her remains should be taken to a specialist facility in the US and cryogenically preserved

The heartbreaking case of a 14 year old girl’s wish for her body to be cryogenically frozen after her death highlights the difficulties that can arise in families when someone dies.Where there is a will, the legal responsibility for funeral arrangements rests with the executors, but if there is no will the Court may have to decide which family member can make the decisions.  A Judge would have to determine who is entitled to administer the estate, normally because they will inherit.  If more than one person is entitled, one of them will be appointed as the ‘administrator’ of the estate giving them the right to make the funeral arrangements.When a child dies the responsibility rests with their parents.  In this case the teenager clearly knew what she wanted but because she was under 18 she could not appoint an executor to carry out her wishes. She knew her parents would not agree so had to turn to the Courts to intervene.As the Judge noted this is a unique case and thankfully reported cases regarding funeral arrangements are quite rare.  However, family tensions or disputes do arise but are mostly resolved without the Court’s involvement.  If your funeral wishes are unusual or may contradict your family’s views a carefully worded statement in your will, and the appointment of executors to carry out those wishes may prevent problems from arising after your death.

Chris Burrows

Author Chris Burrows

Chris is a Senior Solicitor and is head of the firm's Private Client department.

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