Education — Precompose

How to Designate an Agent

Appointing the person responsible for your wishes 

Once you have completed your Disposition Authorization, the next step in documenting your end-of-life wishes is to designate your legal agent. The person you name in your Designated Agent for Funeral Agreements form will be legally responsible for making sure your end-of-life wishes happen the way you intend.

Sometimes, people think they don’t need an agent form because they have given someone power of attorney, or they have an executor. But unless your will or your power of attorney paperwork says so, those positions don’t have the right to decide what happens to your body after you die.  In Washington, the law states that if an agent isn’t designated, that role will automatically go to what the law considers your “next of kin.” Your next of kin is legally defined as, in order: your surviving spouse or domestic partner, child or children, parent, siblings, grandchildren, then nieces or nephews.

Designating your agent is an important decision. We recommend reading through the Designated Agent form and considering which person in your life will be best suited to this role.

Responsibilities of a Designated Agent

This person’s responsibilities will include:

  • Executing existing arrangements: Your agent will be able legally responsible for carrying out any wishes you document prior to your death.
  • Making decisions for anything you have not arranged: Your agent will also be authorized to act on your behalf to make decisions for any arrangements you have not already pre-arranged. For example, if you have not already documented what you would like to happen to your soil after the Recompose process, your designated agent is legally obligated to make that decision.
  • Paying additional costs: If you have not paid in advance for your arrangements, your agent is responsible for the cost. For example, if you have a remaining balance of $500 on your Precompose plan at the time of your death, your agent is responsible for paying the remaining $500 before Recompose can perform our services. If your estate cannot reimburse the agent for the personal cost of executing your wishes, your agent will be authorized to change your plans to a lower cost option.

When thinking about who to designate as your agent, ask yourself questions such as:

  1. Is this person someone can I trust to understand and honor my wishes as I have documented them? Can I trust them to follow my wishes even when they differ from the person’s opinion about what should happen to my body?
  2. Will this person be equipped to make these decisions at the end of my life? If I choose my spouse or child, will they be emotionally able to see to my wishes while managing the grief of my death?
  3. If I have not already paid for the wishes I have documented, my agent may be responsible for the cost. Is this person willing and able to handle the cost of executing my wishes?
  4. If I do not die within 50 miles of a Recompose location, my agent will be responsible for arranging for transport of my body to Recompose. Will they be logistically and financially equipped to take care of this responsibility?

Once you have someone in mind to act as your agent, we recommend speaking with them to ensure they are willing and able to execute these responsibilities. The can find a template for how to start this conversation in our How to Approach a Designated Agent article.

The person you ask to be your agent may have questions about the legal process or about Recompose itself. You can direct them to the Recompose website or have them get in touch with us at precompose@recompose.life.

Once you have chosen your agent, please fill out the Designated Agent for Funeral Arrangement at the link below. You’ll be able to sign it via our online system and Recompose will save a copy with your customer records. As long as it is signed electronically, you do not need a witness. Once your form is signed, please print out a copy and keep it with your important papers like your will. Make sure to give a copy to your agent as well.

If you ever want to change your agent, email precompose@recompose.life and we’ll send you a new form to sign. If you have questions about filling out this form, you can email us there or give us a call at (206) 800-TREE and we’ll return your message promptly.

Once you’ve designated an agent, your next step will be to complete a Transport Form. You can see a complete list of Precompose documents and information here.

Congratulations on completing your Designated Agent for Funeral Arrangements. You are taking initiative for yourself, the people in your life, and for the planet. Thank you for being part of the Recompose community!

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Land Acknowledgement

Recompose acknowledges we make our lives and livelihoods on the lands of the Coast Salish People, specifically the Duwamish People. We honor with gratitude the Duwamish People past and present, the land itself, and the Duwamish Tribe.

Colonization is an active, persistent process. Indigenous communities continue to be resilient in protecting their ecological and cultural lifeways and deathways despite ongoing oppression. Recompose respects, shares, and supports this commitment to climate healing and environmental justice. Join Recompose in contributing to Real Rent Duwamish.

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