How can i get my baby’s ashes back?

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How can i get my baby’s ashes back?

Last June, I had a stillborn child who I chose to cremate. I gave half of the ashes to the father, who is now in jail pending trial. Since his arrest, his mother has held onto the ashes while refusing to give them to me. The father and I were never married, so he isn’t on her stillbirth certificate. Is there anything I can legally do to get back her ashes?

Asked on February 22, 2019 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

First, please accept our condolences and sympathy for your loss.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do. Once you give or "gift" anything--including remains, like ashes--to another person, you lose all right to or interest in them. They belong to the recipient, to do with as he/she wants, including giving them to another (e.g. his mother). You gave up your right to the ashes when you gave half to the father.


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