Who has the right to someone’s ashes?

UPDATED: Oct 11, 2011

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Who has the right to someone’s ashes?

Stepdad was cremated and his wife, my mother, is incompetent and in a care unit. His brother and sisters want to bury him where they choose. I want to bury him in a plot that will also be where my mom is buried. Since my mom is still living even though she is incompetent do I have the right to bury him with her and where I want them to be buried. I have my stepdad’s ashes. I also have the financial responsiblity for burial. Married for 50 years. No will.

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it is.  When you say that you have the financial responsibility for the burial what is that pursuant to if there is no Will?  Are you appointed as a personal representative of the intestate estate?  Or did you voluntarily take that on?  Is it on behalf of your other through a Power of Attorney or guardianship?  If you are the one paying for the cremation and the burial then the ashes should go to you.  His wife - your Mother - should have the primary right to her husband's ashes and if you are her Power of Attorney or Guardian then you have the say so.  Good luck to you.

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