What are my options regarding getting my late husband’s ashes back from my mother-in-law?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What are my options regarding getting my late husband’s ashes back from my mother-in-law?

My husband passed away a year ago. He left a note in his safe saying he wanted to be cremated and stay with his kids. My mother-in-law got his ashes against my wishes and will not return them and is trying to bury him this is not what he wanted.

Asked on October 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The note your husband left unfortunately has no legal effect whatsoever: only instructions contained in a properly signed and witnessed will are legal binding after a person's death.
A spouse has a greater right to the ashes than a parent IF the spouse stepped up and arranged for the cremation. If the spouse did not do so and let a parent take charge of this, then the spouse effectively gave up her right(s) in this regard and the parent then took priority or precedence in terms of the ashes.
If you did arrange for the cremation, then the ashes should have been returned to you; if not, you could sue your mother-in-law for them (unfortunately, a lawsuit is the only way to get the courts involved; and only the courts can order her to turn them over).
If your mother-in-law arranged for the cremation, then the ashes are properly hers.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption