You are here:

Funerals/Ownership of cremated remains -filing with probate court


Thank you for your previous answer.  The probate court in Iowa says they can't give me any guidance as to what forms I need to file,  and that I should get a lawyer. I would like to avoid that.  What documents/forms would I need to file in order to present this case to the probate court?

I am astonished! Most probate courts are very helpful and usually enjoy their power to work without attorneys. I would simply write a letter to the court asking for it to declare that you have an equal right to the cremated remains which can be solved by a dividing of them.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.