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GreenKangaroo

Enforcing Mother's Final Wishes

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My mother passed away almost 8 months ago. My mother's will clearly stated she wished to be cremated and interred at a nearby local cemetery. My father had her cremated but not had her ashes interred at the cemetery. Do the children have any legal leg to enforce their mother's last will and have her ashes interred where she wanted to be? This is so upsetting and I just cannot imagine someone not following their wife's last wishes to be carried out. Any advice or help is appreciated.

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 Do the children have any legal leg to enforce their mother's last will and have her ashes interred where she wanted to be?

 

Sure.

 

You and your siblings can open wallets and spend $10,000 to $20,000 going to court and forcing a change in administrator of the estate and petition the court to compel your father to inter the ashes where your mother wanted them to be interred.

 

Or, you can just mind your own business and let your father have his comfort the way he wants it. When he dies you can do what you want with both of them.

 

Did it ever occur to you that your father might not be able to afford the cost of a cemetery funeral and the headstone? Maybe if you offered to pay for it (couple of thousand maybe) he'd go along with it.

 

PS: Your mother doesn't care anymore.

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I don't think he would contest it, he has agreed verbally to do so, we have even agreed to pay for it. I feel my mothers wishes should have been respected. Because she is not in a final resting spot is very sad, her friends and relatives have no way to visit her or get closure. I also fear my father falling asleep while smoking and burning the house down, with my mothers remains there. My mother wanted to be interred in the cemetery, that is why she stated it in her will. My poor mother wanted to get away from him her entire life, its so sad that her final wishes were not carried out and she is still stuck there.

 

Legally can we challenge the father? This is not about comfort, this is about a greedy gambling addict father who spent the funeral money at a casino!

 

Your comments were very insensitive, and certainly not compassionate. I don't wish any child to have to do this.

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If your father was and is the executor of the Will  he has a responsibility to honor your mothers wishes using the assets of the estate before any beneficiaries receive there share of what was in the will to be distributed. 

Generally  every state has court procedures to have a matter such as this brought before a judge for a rueling and will requier a well versed probate court attorney. A consultation is no cost or inexpensive. 

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I think my older sister was the executor of the Will. He refused to do this, he said he didn't have the money. He promised his daughters he would do this at a later date after he cashed his life insurance policy in. He cashed the life insurance in right after her funeral. We suspect he spent the money and now doesn't have the means to do this.

 

Is my sister the one at fault for not seeing to it that her will was executed? The father is a surviving spouse. They were married.

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This response is not intended to create an attorney-client

relationship.

 

My opinion is that you and your father first go through ADR mediation. It should cost each of you maybe about $1,000 apiece to have an experienced mediator attempt to help both of you to solve this impasse.  Then, if the mediator isn't successful, the Court can handle it at a Court hearing.  

 

Hopefully, your family won't be torn apart over this issue.

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Funny how certain details didn't come out in the original post (in reply to another thread).

 

Your father has no legal obligation to use life insurance proceeds to pay for your mom's wishes to be carried out.  The estate is responsible for that expense and, your sister, as (at least nominated) executor of the will is the one who needs to file the will and open probate in order to have the power conferred on her by the nomination.  If she chooses not to handle your mom's estate, then she can sign a document giving up that right and any alternate party named in the will to act as executor can do it (if no such alternate was nominated, then you can). 

Question is whether your mom had any assets that, if sold, would cover the cost.

 

"Is my sister the one at fault for not seeing to it that her will was executed?"

Yes, indirectly, if by "executed" you mean mother's wishes carried out.  It was shi&%y of your father to agree/promise to do it and still not have fulfilled that promise, but it's still not his legal obligation just because he's spouse.

Problem with filing a will for probate is that you open up worms in terms of, say, if your mother had estate debt.

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a.) The life insurance was HIS policy, he cashed in his policy so it isn't related to the estate. (I didn't think it was related to the post) Nor do I care what he did with his life insurance money.Its HIS money.
 

b.) My sister handled the estate, I didn't even see a copy of the will until recently. Nor do I want anything from her estate. there was nothing except for some jewelry. There is no cash assets. The little bit of jewelry was already distributed per mothers will / instructions
 

c.) My sister was named executor by my deceased mother, she was NOT nominated. My mother named her in the will and she is the only daughter who lives in the same state.
 

d.) There is no money to gain from this, I even offered to pay the internment costs.

 

There are no assets.

 

This is simply to do what my mother wanted.

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Do the children have any legal leg to enforce their mother's last will and have her ashes interred where she wanted to be?

 

Notwithstanding that many people express a preference about the disposition of their bodily remains in their wills, the purpose of a will is to direct the disposition of one's assets.  Of course, the answer to your question depends on the laws of the state where she lived, which I didn't see identified in any of your several posts in this thread.  Generally, however, the decision about disposition of one's bodily remains rests with the surviving spouse, if there is one, and cannot be dictated by a will.

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Thank you PG. This is what I was afraid of. If the spouse can make any decision regarding the disposition of bodily remains, even if her will directed otherwise, is it doubtful that we could inter her remains thru a court order or waste of time and money in your eyes?

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If the spouse can make any decision regarding the disposition of bodily remains, even if her will directed otherwise, is it doubtful that we could inter her remains thru a court order or waste of time and money in your eyes?

 

Yes.  If you identify your mother's state of residence, we may be able to provide you with more concrete information.

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Ultimately, it's not clear from your post why the issue is requires court intervention when you say your father doesn't have a problem with the interment (evidently, he doesn't want to worry about paying for it). 

 

If your mother's will indicated she wanted a sister to act as executor, she was indeed "nominated".  If she never filed the will or opened administration on the probate case, she was never appointed executor by the court and thus arguably had no legal right to dispose of stuff that might have been sold to cover her final expenses.  Medical debt would be in order of priority something to come after final/funeral expenses.

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To answer your question Fallen, I'm upset because its been 8 months and she hasn't been interred yet. I felt like this should have been completed months ago, I am at my wits end to get my sisters to act and get this completed. Obviously they are not bothered by the time which has lapsed, and that is why I am finally investigating any legal options to expedite this and finally get it completed. I feel this should have been completed BEFORE any of mom's assets were distributed. I do not want this to continue on and on.

 

My sister was named as executor in the will by my mother, not by a court. I did find out today the will was never registered. Thank you for the link.

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You said YOU were willing to pay for it and that your father posed no objection to the thought, and I'm not clear what your sisters have to do with it.  I'm circling back to you (still) never explaining why you need to "investigat[e] ... legal options" when your father isn't opposed to the interment.  Even if the value of the jewelry you mention being distributed would cover it, presumably you aren't (consciously anyway) interested in spending many times more money and time with a "legal" solution.  (Your sister would be entitled to compensation for opening up a probate case and administering the estate, and that would be a priority debt too.)

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I'm upset that this has taken so long, and my sisters don't seem to want to move this along. My father promised my sisters and I that he would do this after he got his life insurance money and he hasn't. The length of time it has taken is the only thing I am concerned with, and to finally have this completed as my mothers will stated she wanted. I am upset that it has been 8 mos and still nothing set, no plan, nothing. I was wondering what legal recourse I had (if any) to make this happen as my mother directed in her will. The fact we keep asking him is nauseating - and it still hasn't happened!

 

How long is fair? I think 8 mos is plenty of time. Money was the "excuse" my father gave for not doing this in the first place. I offered to pay for this so it would finally be done and no more excuses (financial excuses)  I don't wish to spend a fortune on this legally, especially if it would further complicate issues. My sister was executor and I don't want to take her to court, I want to simply have my mother's last wishes granted and her ashes interred as her will indicated, nothing more.

 

It doesn't sound like I have any legal recourse either. The jewelry has nothing to do with this, I simply stated the jewelry was the only assets in the estate since my mom was survived by her husband. Again, I am not sure what you are grasping at?

 

So folks, please be aware and learn from my nightmare, it doesn't matter what your last will & testament states, your family can do whatever they want, when they want... unless you have $$$$ to fight the will I court.  Lesson learned!

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"So folks, please be aware and learn from my nightmare, it doesn't matter what your last will & testament states, your family can do whatever they want, when they want."

 

My condolences on the passing of your mother. I know she would greatly appreciate all your efforts to help fulfill her last wishes. Under the circumstances, I think she might have you use your innate creativity. What would Bond do? You may feel as though Mom's being held hostage.  She's your mom, liberate her. I'm guessing her remains aren't under lock and key. Leave something behind from the barbeque pit. When the time is right, have her interred at the place of her choice. If your family can do whatever they want, when they want ... well so can you! If there's a problem, let them get the lawyer. You'll have Mom, they won't have a leg to stand on. Who's going to know? In a worst case scenario, who'd prosecute ... for what ... trying to fulfill the terms of your own mother's Will. You have my blessing.                              

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