Some states include language which authorizes your Agent to consent to an autopsy in your Advance Healthcare Directive. An "autopsy" is an examination of the body after death by a medical expert, usually conducted to determine the cause(s) of death. Except for deaths that appear to have occurred under suspicious circumstances, government officials generally do not have the authority to conduct an autopsy, unless the consent of the deceased person's legal representative (for example, an Executor or surviving spouse) is obtained.

Autopsies are an important way to gather medical knowledge. This includes knowledge for families, such as cause of death and increased awareness of inheritable health problems, as well as knowledge for society, such as better understanding of the cause, course, and treatment of an illness. Most hospitals do not charge for an autopsy. The performance of an autopsy will not delay a funeral or affect viewing of the body.

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