Who has the rights to a deceased person’s ashes?

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Who has the rights to a deceased person’s ashes?

My father passed away about 3 weeks ago; I am his only child. His request was to be creamated. His sister paid for creamation. The funeral home told me I was the only one that can authorized the cremation as being the next of kin, and that I was to receive his remains. I just learned this week the remains went to his sister. The funeral home has stated they were well within their right to give to her because she paid for the creamation; I only paid for the memorial service. However, as of 3 days ago, I have my Letter of Authority from the Probate Court and was told that I am my father’s Personal Representative. Does this included his remains? I am in the process of retaining a probate attorney, however just trying to get some clarification.

Asked on October 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country the nearest living relative in relationship to your father under your state's intestacy laws would be entitled to your father's ashes. Assuming your father died without a spouse then you as your father's sole remaining child would be entitled to his ashes, not your aunt. I suggest that if your aunt refuses to give up your father's ashes that you consult with a Wills and trust attorney about getting the ashes.


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