Funerals/Family stone


QUESTION: My wives Brother passed away and his wife had his name and her name carved into the stone.There were only 2 plots left. the brother was put in one and her other sister reserved the other one.Her sister-in-law moved the brother to a new cemetery. We have not gone to court yet, but feel she should remove both names from the stone.She did not get anyone in the family that owns the stone to say it was okay to put her name on it. How do they remove names from stones or do they just replace them.

ANSWER: I'm sorry if I'm not clear on what has happened.

Your wife's brother was buried in WHOSE plot? Who paid for it?

Then his wife moved the body to another cemetery?

If the stone with his and her names are still on a plot owned by your family or your wife's family, simply tell the brother's wife to move the stone or your family will discard it.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The plot and monument are owned by my wives family.  They allowed her brother to be buried there.  Her sister-in-law had his name put on the monument, which we had no problem with.  But then the sister-in-law put her name and a picture of herself and my wives brother on the stone and never asked anyone if she could.  Then over a disagreement with the family she had my wives brothers body removed and taken to another cemetery leaving the family with their names carved into the stone.  What rights do we have to get her to get the names off and return our parents stone back to how it was.  We also have the original deed and bill of sale for the plot and stone.  This is in the state of New York  Thanking you in advance.

I'm sure you realize that most spouses expect to be buried with the other spouse and it's unfortunate that things weren't talked over early on.

Contact a monument dealer and find out how much it will cost to repair the parents' stone. Then tell the sister-in-law that the family needs to be reimbursed for that or you will go to small claims court.


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.

©2016 All rights reserved.