If I’ve been married to my 90 year old wife for 18 years and she now has Alzheimer’s, can I decide where she should be buried?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I’ve been married to my 90 year old wife for 18 years and she now has Alzheimer’s, can I decide where she should be buried?

She has had it for 10 years. I continue to be the primary caregiver for her in our home. Her children are adamant that she be buried beside her 2nd husband because my wife “vowed to him on his dying death bed” that she would be buried next to him. However, he was married to him for only 8 years before he died. He has been dead 30 years and she has no memory of this dead husband or for the other 2 deceased husbands (I am her 4th husband). Yet, she asks about me often when I am not in her presence, and she frequently tell me “I want to be with you”. I want to bury my wife at a site next to me. What are my rights? Also, she has no memory of her 2 children.

Asked on January 1, 2016 under Family Law, South Carolina


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The easiest route would be to have your wife sign a directive or include a provision in her will that designates her desires after her passing.  If you go this route, make sure you have an attorney draft the documents so that they survive a challenge by her children.  The big trick will be make sure and documenting that she is lucid when she signs off. 
Without the documents, you can still makes decisions on where to bury her.  Your requests are not unreasonable....just know that her children could present and expensive legal battle and challenge if they do not agree with the challenge.

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