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Funerals/moving grandfathers ashes

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QUESTION: My moms dad died in 1967. Cremated remains in niche in CA (in LA County). No other family at that cemetery. Placed there because my mom lived in CA at the time. My mom died in 2007. Her wishes were to have her ashes in cemetery in FL, and move her dads ashes there. She stated this in writing but because it was not notarized cemetery is not accepting it. They refer to health & safety codes 7500, 7525 & 7526. I asked court for help, they had me fill out a form that was incorrect. The ashes would be moved to a cemetery in Florida that is owned by the same company that owns cemetery in California. Would be in a family niche area along with my sister and her son. My grandfather has no surviving relatives - parents passed before him; his wife passed months after him and was buried at her family plot in PA; there were no siblings. What can I do? Do I petition the court? Can a grandchild move a grandparent? I'd like to be able to do this without the expense of a lawyer but am I going to have to retain one? Thank you so much.

ANSWER: What kind of papers did the court have you sign and what was incorrect? I see from the statute that you need permission from the Superior Court and, yes, that will mean hiring a lawyer.

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QUESTION: The form was Ex Parte Petiton for Court Order to Release the Remains of a Decedent. The reason stated for denial was 'Not proper petition if remains at cemetery and death in 1967'. There were 4 pages I filled out; At the bottom of the forms it referenced: Pro 0170407 / Health and safety code 7105, Pro 018 / Health and safety code 7105, Pro 010 05-03 / LASC Rule 2.0. Can a grandchild even move the ashes of a grandparent? I don't want to spend money on a lawyer if it is just going to lead down a trail that cannot have the resolution my mom wished for. Thank you so much for your help.

Answer
The statute is silent about grandchildren. But I think in most states since all others are deceased you would have standing to make the move.

As a last resort if you don't get anywhere with the L.A. cemetery you could purchase a niche for your grandfather and place a picture of him in it.

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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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