This is exactly what happened to Jennifer Gable, a trans woman in Twin Falls, Idaho. Dead from a sudden aneurysm at work, her friends were stunned a second time at her funeral when they saw her in a casket presented as a man, wearing a suit and hair cut short.
The obituary? Her former name, male pronouns and no mention of who she really was.
All this, likely perfectly legal.
While the entire story may have not been told at this time, it’s enough to give pause to ask yourself if your own legal affairs are in order to prevent this from happening to you?
From wiki re: ‘next of kin’: Decisions about funeral arrangements for an unmarried person without children may be made by the next closest relative.
Let me go further: In the event of a dispute between friends and ‘next of kin’, the latter likely has stronger legal standing.
A Will might not be enough. In some cases, wills may not be read until after the funeral or simply not located in time.
A ‘Power of Attorney’ isn’t always enough. In some cases, the POA expires at the moment of death, at which time legal decisions may transfer back to next of kin.
A trans person should have a legal document made up by an attorney that authorizes a specific person(s) by name to make decisions in the event you are incapacitated and/or suddenly decease. And a copy needs to be given to that person so they have it available should the need occur. The document is of no value if it is filed away with with your will or if a family member chooses not to disclose it.
This is especially urgent if you are estranged from any family member(s), including your own kids.
Note: I am not an attorney but I’ve seen enough bizarro funerals and strife following death to know this is a matter in need of an immediate phone call to your attorney if you’re not protected.
This was one of Jennifer Gable’s last Facebook posts:
“Why do people wait until tragedy strikes to realize that kindness, compassion, and connection with people, no matter WHAT they’ve done or who they are… is all far more important than every other petty thing?”
More from the Miami Herald‘s Steve Rothaus: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article4055600.html
Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: http://www.amazon.com/Lexie-Cannes-CourtneyODonnell/dp/B00KEYH3LQ Or get the DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0963781332
LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia: http://www.wipeouttransphobia.com/
Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/