(a) No public officer, employee, physician or surgeon, or other person having a professional relationship with the deceased, shall send, or cause to be sent to an embalmer, funeral director or crematory operator the body of a deceased without first inquiring the desires of the deceased who has designated his or her wishes regarding the disposal of their remains through a last will and testament, an advance directive or preneed funeral contract, as defined in section two, article fourteen, chapter forty-five of this code; the surviving spouse of the deceased, unless a petition to dissolve the marriage was pending at the time of decedent's death; and, an individual previously designated by the deceased as the person with the right to control disposition of the deceased's remains in a writing signed and notarized by the deceased: Provided, That no person may be designated to serve in such capacity for more than one nonrelative at any one time. If there is no last will and testament, advance directive or preneed funeral contract, surviving spouse, or designated person, then the authority and direction of any next of kin or person who may be chargeable with the funeral expenses of the deceased shall be used as to the disposal of the body of the deceased. The provisions of this subsection are not applicable if the remains of the decedent are subject to disposition pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, a United States Department of Defense Record of Emergency Data Form (DD Form 93) executed by a declarant who dies while serving in a branch of the United States Military as defined in 10 U. S. C. §1481 constitutes a valid form of declaration instrument and governs the disposition of the declarant's remains. The person named in the form as the person authorized to direct disposition of the remains may arrange for the final disposition of the declarant's last remains.
(c) Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $500, nor more than $1,000, or imprisoned not less than ten days nor more than ninety days, or both.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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