Does my husband have right to his mother’s remains over his stepfather?

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Does my husband have right to his mother’s remains over his stepfather?

My husband was told by a lawyer friend that my husband has more rights to his moms ashes than the husband because her husband is not my husband’s biological father. We just found out that my mother-in-law’s husband and his family are putting my mother-in-law’s remains in the VA wall in the cemetery. Does my husband have more rights to his mother’s remains than the husband? Also, can my husband put a stop to them putting her in the wall without a court order or if we need some kind of court order can we file whatever we need to get the remains out of the wall by ourselves since we probably won’t have the papers before they put her in the wall in the chancellor court without an lawyer? We do not have the money right now to pay for

a lawyer. My mother-in-law did not want to be put in the wall by herself and would want to be with us.

Asked on August 29, 2019 under Estate Planning, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Almost always the spouse receives and has control and rights over the ashes, not a child. That the spouse--your husband's stepfather--is not your husband's biological father is irrelevant. The spouse is the one who would have been able to make medical decisions for her, if she were incapacitated; in most states, he had the greatest inheritance rights at law; etc. The law favors spouses over children in many ways and the spouse, not the child, gets the ashes.


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