Who has rights to my Father-in-Law's cremains?
First my mother-in-law is of very sound mind and currently lives in Iowa. My father-in-law died in 2010 and was cremated. At the time of his death my brother-in-law was assisting both my mother-in-law and father-in-law ; all 3 living in Texas. My brother-in-law at the time kept the ashes. Since then my mother-in-law has requested to have them back (has plans to spread the ashes in a way that is meaningful to her). The couple was married 60 years. Who has rights to these cremains? If my mother-in-law does any legal advice?
As I am a funeral director and not an attorney, I can only offer suggestions based on my professional experience. Usually, the next-of-kin is legally entitled to a cremated body's ashes, which in this case, would be your mother-in-law.
If she hasn't asked for them, she might consider doing that in the presence of another person, giving that person a heads-up before doing it. That person can advocate for her and his/her presence will help him be more understanding as long as it's someone he respects.
If it's a matter of him not agreeing with what she plans to do with them, she might suggest that he be allowed to keep a portion of the ashes.
If however, she has asked for them and her son (your brother-in-law) refused, a call to an attorney would be helpful. Many give an initial consultation free of charge.
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