Who has the rights to my rights to my brother’s ashes?

My brother passed about 7 months ago. My sister-in-law will not let either me nor my mother have any of his ashes. I was wondering since he doesn’t have a Will, what would be our rights to obtain a small amount of his ashes to be put in a keepsake locket?

Asked on June 28, 2016 under Estate Planning, Oregon


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A person's ashes become part of their estate. This means that whoever has the right to inherit estate assets has the right to the ashes. Further, when a person dies without a Will, they die "intestate" which means that their heirs inherit. Typically, this is a surviving spouse, if any, and children of the deceased. A sister or mother would only become heirs if the deceased family member was not married and died childless.

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