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Funerals/disinterment process from WA State to Tn


Dear Lisa
In 2001 my Mother passed away at home<in WA State, after a brief battle with cancer. At the time she was married but he has since remarried several years ago.  My Mom was an only child and so am I.  She was buried in Tahoma National Cemetary.  My grandma and I moved to Tennessee in 2004 (my Grandma is 92)She would like her daughter (my Mother) to be brought to TN.  My husband and I have 15 acres which has already been surveyed for a family cemetery.  I have contacted the cemetery and they told me that I had to send them a letter of disinterment and contact this vault company, which I did only for them to tell me that they don't deal with the public and to contact a funeral home.  I contacted the funeral home that took care of her arrangements.  So here are my questions, can my ex step father keep me from moving my Mother? and how do I go about getting the process started.  My husband and I would like to transport my Mom back to Tn can we do that and if so what paper work do we need? Thank you

Yes, getting the cooperation from your ex-stepfather is the first thing.

After 10 years, the casket *could* be in terrible shape and rusting out if metal or falling apart if wood. No way to be sure. So you are likely to appreciate having a funeral director oversee the disinterment in case it gets unpleasant. In that case, you will want a new casket. The funeral director will get the disinterment permit, assuming you have a letter from your ex-stepfather okaying the move.

You absolutely have the right to do the transport if you wish. I'm assuming you will have or will rent a van or truck. If the funeral director gives you a hard time about releasing the body to you, tell him to check with the state mortuary board. They'll set him wise as to your rights. You can also call me, Lisa Carlson, 802-482-6021.


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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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