My mother passed away in August. Over a year before her death we started looking into getting a upright headstone were my dad was already buried,and my mom would be layed to rest, I also have a plot next to them. My mom bought all three in 1989 when my dad passed, my husband wishes to be cremated.It was my moms wishes to take care of this after she passed,she wished for us to have the same headstone.I have to older brothers, I pretty much was at my moms side since my dad passed, I talked to her every day,usually three times. In December of 2012 I started going to her house every afternoon to do whatever needed to be done. We had supper together every night, I would stay until about 7:00 or 8:00 get her ready for the night.In April I started stayed with her 24/7.After her death I went on to complete the headstone. Ordered it and put down money. My oldest brother cancelled it. Myself and my other brother both think we should be able to complete our mothers wishes. We've been told the oldest has control over this. Wondering if this is true,and if so, is there anything my brother and I can do? I live in Minnesota and the cemetery is owned by the church.we want so to carry out our mothers wishes.our older brother likes to be in control. Thanks for any information.

NO, the oldest sibling does NOT have control. In fact, the wishes of the deceased should prevail.

You don't need a lawyer to go to Probate Court. Either write up the problem as you did for me or go there directly and tell them the problem. Ask to be appointed as the administrator of the estate so you can make all the funeral-related decisions. That should put a stop to your older brother's mischief. Good luck.


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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