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Question
My husband and his family were never close, but I went along with burying him in the family cemetery in order to get along with them.  However, they left no room for me to be buried next to  him, like he requested, have destroyed everything I put on his grave, etc.  I cannot have double headstone put there.  They have tied up his estate in court in order to bankrupt me, although his family was given their inheritance prior to his death, he left the rest to me.   I wish to have him exhumed and cremated so that we can have our ashes mixed when I am gone, and both of us can finally rest in peace.   
It is a free cemetery, no one has a deed, my question is, do I have to notify his family if I intend to do this. Also, how many places do I have to get permission from to do this?  Who has to be present?

Answer
Linda

May I first offer my condolences at the death of your husband, the death of a spouse is traumatic enough without the added grief, it seems, that his family is burdening you with.

My best advice would be to check with the cemetery to verify your understanding that there is no deed to the plot or that anyone other than yourself can control the use of the grave. If someone else has the primary right to direct the use of the grave, you would need their permission to set a headstone on the grave or to have your Husbands body disinterred. Next you would need to check with a funeral home and/or the agency that regulates cemeteries in Tennessee to get the regulations regarding disinterment of a body and what forms must be procured.

As his wife, it is generally accepted in most states,that you have primary right to control the disposition and place of interment of his body.

I hope this helps,

Erin Phelps  

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Erin Phelps

Expertise

I can answer any questions about funerals,embalming, cremation, green burial, home funerals, burial on your own land, scattering of cremated remains and any other death related questions you may have.

Experience

I have worked in the death care industry since 1977, owning my own funeral home since 1990. I worked as an EMT at a funeral home based ambulance service for 6 years gain much experience there. When I opened my funeral home, my goal was to provide honest, straightforward, significant and affordable services to the families who called upon me for my services. Since Sept. 2008, I have served as a member of the Oregon State Mortuary & Cemetery Board, which regulates the operation of mortuarys and cemeteries in Oregon. I have been a regular attendee and speaker at various funeral related seminars over the years and am a frequent contributor to "Mortuary Management" magazine. I was one of the first funeral directors in Oregon to offer "Green" or "Natural" burial services and to offer assistance to families who wish to take care of their own family members at home. I also have vast experience in the repatriation of a deceased to their country of origin.

Organizations
Oregon Funeral Directors Association, International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association, Cremation Association of America, Funeral Ethics Association Natural End Funeral Services - Charter Member.

Publications
Mortuary Management Funeral Monitor Funeral Service Insider

Education/Credentials
Attended the University of Oregon Associates of Science Degree - Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham, Oregon

Awards and Honors
Top 10 Eye Enucleators in Oregon. Nationally Board Certified Funeral Director/Embalmer Honored in "Funeral Monitor", Aug. 2007 for my business practices.

Past/Present Clients
Since 1990, I have served over 10,000 families, requesting the gamute of services ranging from the simplest to the most elaborate. Servicing christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, hindu and humanists, along with families from every continent in the world.

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