Who Has the Right to Keep the Ashes After Cremation?
Not everyone can collect ashes from the crematorium. Funeral homes want to ensure they give cremated remains to the right person to avoid future conflicts. So, who has rights to the ashes after cremation? This is a key consideration since it can help resolve disputes where different family members want to keep the ashes.
Also, the person who receives the ashes can decide what to do with them. And sometimes their decision may be contrary to what others want. That’s why it’s essential to set matters straight in this regard. Here’s what you should know.
Who Receives the Ashes After Cremation?
It might be argued that the person with the right of ownership of the body should take possession of the ashes. However, no one can claim ownership of human bodies. That said, common law provides a duty to arrange the body’s disposition. This duty is bestowed on the following people in order of priority:
The Person Named in the Will
If the deceased had a will, they may have named the person who should keep their ashes. If not, the executor who implements the estate plan should keep the cremains. Since they’re in charge of all the deceased’s affairs, they can plan for cremation and receive the ashes.
The court usually respects the will of a person. That means, the decisions of the executor have legal power. Fortunately, most executors are trusted family members who make decisions in the family’s best interest.
The Next of Kin
In most cases, the next of kin can receive the deceased person’s ashes. If a married person dies, the spouse has the right to claim the ashes. If there’s no spouse, adult children can claim the ashes. And if the children are too young, the deceased’s parents have the right. In this case, the lines of inheritance are applied.
Sometimes family disputes may arise where two people with equal rights claim the cremated remains. For instance, if a divorced couple loses a child, they may disagree on who gets to keep the ashes or where to scatter them. It’s essential to remember that no one has ownership over the ashes, just possession. The court may help resolve such a dispute if the two can’t agree.
The Person Who Delivered the Body
The person who delivered the body to the crematorium has the right to receive the ashes but not necessarily to keep them. Also, the person who pays for the cremation and signs the cremation authorization can receive the ashes. That’s because the funeral home recognizes them as parties to the contract.
If the right person fails to collect the ashes, it’s assumed they’ve waived their right. That may give another person the right to receive the ashes. According to Florida law, a funeral home can dispose of the cremated remains if no one has collected them for 120 days following cremation.
The Bottom Line
The person who has rights to the ashes after cremation is the one mentioned in the will. And in the absence of a will, the executor, usually a trusted family member, gets to keep the ashes. Otherwise, the highest-ranking next of kin has those rights.
Even though most people put off talking about death, it’s wise to plan your final journey while you’re still alive to prevent future conflicts. Having a cremation plan allows you to decide who gets your ashes and what they can do with them. You can also make things easier for them by pre-paying for cremation.
Florida Family Cremation allows you to pre-plan and pre-pay for cremation. We provide affordable cremation services in Clearwater, including veterans’ services and direct or simple cremation. Contact us to learn more about our services.