Funerals/disinterment

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Question
Our 18 year old son was killed in an accident in several years ago.  He is buried at our Catholic Cemetery. We have moved and wanted to move him to our family plot. The cemetery at first said we could not as he is in a lower grave. We always had every intention of moving him so was very surprised when they said no.  We now have approval from the diocese but the  cost to the cemetery alone  just for disinterment is $5,800.00. (The charge 2,800 upper level and we are lower)Since we have to add all of the additional costs with moving him we were wondering if you are allowed to disinter and cremate/ and not move to another cemetery? I don't believe the cemetery would want us to do this as they have made it difficult up to this point. What are they allowed to tell us we can or cannot do? We did not sign that we would not move him. Thank you for your response.

Answer
I am sorry for your loss. Yes, as next of kin you have a right to decide about cremation. I wouldn't bother to mention this to the cemetery. You will need to hire a funeral director to oversee the disinterment. Ask him/her to stay mum about your plans as some of the older Catholics are old farts about cremation. Let me know how you make out. I would shop around to find a funeral director to work with as it could save hundreds of dollars.

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Lisa Carlson

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
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

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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