Who owns ashes in PA?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Both my parents have passed away and my sister has possession of their combined ashes. My parents wishes were to be buried on a mountain near their home. My sister has decided on her own to split the ashes into 6 containers - one for each of the children instead of burying them. What is my recourse to this decision in PA?

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at www.funeral411.com.

This is a hurtful situation. First you've lost your parents and then you want to honor their wishes but see that others don't. The only recourse would be if your parents put something in writing either in their will or at the funeral home that their wish was to buried on the mountain near their home.

If that's not the case, you might get someone whom your sister respects to talk to her about burying the ashes on the mountain. Maybe that person could be a clergy member who would also offer to have a gathering at the burial where all of the children would be present and it would include a few words and prayers for your parents to be buried with honor and respect.

Depending on your relationship with your other siblings, you may want to suggest that they all bring their portion of the ashes to a gathering as mentioned above. With as many siblings as you have, the chances are reasonable that your parents also mentioned to one or more of them, their desire to be buried on the mountain.

Condolences to you and wishes for a good resolution.