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Is there a legal route available in this situation?

  • 30-03-2024 12:54pm
    Registered Users Posts: 3,255 ✭✭✭

    A husband & father passes away a few years ago, leaving an elderly widow & three adult children. The widow is in now long term care due to dementia, child 1 & 2 are normal, child 3 has alcohol & mental health issues which they refuse to address

    The widow now wishes to have her deceased husband’s ashes buried in a grave they jointly purchased many years ago so that she can visit, while she has dementia she is mobile & is regularly taken out of the LTCF for lunch, coffee etc.

    Child 3 is in possession of the ashes & it’s expected that they will refuse to make the ashes available for internment.

    Ideally, child 3 should just say of course, here are the ashes but I expect pushback, the widow does have a solicitor so just wondering if there is a legal option for her if child 3 does what I expect them to do & refuse to make the ashes available?



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,854 ✭✭✭✭Mrs OBumble

    Who paid for the funeral? (I don't know if applies in Ireland, but in some countries it is.)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,255 ✭✭✭naughtysmurf

    From memory child 3 paid the funeral director directly as a convenience but was repaid in full very shortly afterwards by the widow probably within a week or so

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,980 ✭✭✭3DataModem

    IANAL… but as far as I know there's some weird laws about ashes. The ashes need to be delivered to the person who delivered the body for creation, and thereafter they are the custodians of them, but not the "owner" per se, as the ashes are not property in any legal sense (as they are a person's remains).

  • Registered Users Posts: 244 ✭✭Ted222

    There’s always a legal route but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s covered specifically in law.

    If a widow took an action seeking possession of her late husband’s ashes, I can’t see how it could be successfully challenged.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,355 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    The legal personal representative has a responsibility to dispose of the remains, and the right to take possession of them for that purpose.

    Did Dad leave a will? Who was named as executor of that will? Was a grant of probate obtained by the named executor?

    If Dad did not leave a will, was a grant of administration obtained? If so, by whom?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 490 ✭✭beeker1

    Not being flippant on such a sensitive issue but what about sharing his ashes , it's usually about half a stone ! He can be with both his wife & children ! Getting the law involved will not only be costly but alienate each other !

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,255 ✭✭✭naughtysmurf

    yes, there was a Will, everything transferred directly to the widow as per the will , solicitor at the time said that there was no need for probate as all property & monies were jointly owned ( joint bank accounts only)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,255 ✭✭✭naughtysmurf

    we have, all three children have there own personal ashes in the form of small brass urns and or jewellery with ashes inserted, the remaining ashes in question are in a wooden urn designed I believe for internment?? that child 3 has possession of, that the widow now wishes to bury in a grave purchased with her husband many years ago, that she can visit, that’s all!!

    Child 3 has ‘many issues’ & creates all their own alienation without help from anyone else by the things she does & says, some people light up a room as they enter, others as they exit

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,355 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    OK. Legally, the widow could compel the child to hand over the ashes. She'd have to apply for a grant of probate, then when she got the grant ask for the ashes to be given to her, and then if the child failed or refused launch court proceedings. It would be a mess, and very expensive, and take a long time. Plus, there is a questio-mark over the widow's ability to do this, given that she has dementia. So the legal option is probably not very practical.