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Funerals/my mother's ashes


Erin Phelps wrote at 2016-04-04 22:43:01
My name is Erin Phelps, I am a licensed funeral director in the State of Oregon. Since your parents were in process of divorcing, I question who had the legal right to authorize the cremation of your Mother's body. A deceased person's body is considered quasi-property of the legal next of kin, for the purpose of burial or cremation.  If your Father was still considered her legal spouse he would have been the legal next of kin entitled to direct the disposition of her body. Regardless of his inability to pay for anything.

Also if your Father was her legal next of kin he also would be entitled to decide who took possession of her cremated remains, regardless if your Uncle had paid for the funeral.

I would recommend that you look into your Father's legal status as the next of kin. The funeral home that handled the funeral should have determined this at the time of her death.  

I hope this helps you,

Erin Phelps


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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

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Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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