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Funerals/Moving a Body Against Wishes of Family


My late father's mother (my grandmother) recently passed away. Her daughter (my aunt) and family wanted to bury her next to my father, my grandmother's son. We had reserved that plot for my mother when she passes.

The plot is in a small church cemetery.

(I actually had purchased my own burial marker, and it is currently rests in that spot as a marker to show that it has been chosen. Small churches around here are notorious for having bad to non-existent cemetery records. I have since decided to be buried somewhere else and it will be moved when needed.)

They said mom couldn't be buried there because she had remarried and therefore was no longer his widow. My aunt and cousin went as far as going to the cemetery and marking the plot without the church's knowledge. (I don't what to think about what they would have done with my grave marker.)

The church agreed with us and said grandmother could not be buried in that plot. They then chose to bury her in a different cemetery.

We are concerned that they may try to move my father without our consent. Do they have any right to move my father without his widow's and children's consent?

There is also some concern that my brother (oldest sibling) may agree with my aunt and give consent.

In that case, it would be 1 brother verses the widow and 3 daughters. Does he have the the right to override our wishes and give consent?

How long has your father been buried? If more than five years, it's likely the casket has rusted out if metal, and the cost of disinterment might run about $7,000. Most funeral directors would be very hesitant to make such a move for only one sibling.

BTW, what about your mother's current husband? Where will he be buried?


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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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