Asked in Estate Planning for Georgia

Q: In Ga, does my step mom have the right to exhume and cremate my deceased father if she is remarried?

My father has been deceased for 19 years. My step-mom want to exhume his body and cremate him. I am his daughter and I want to see if I have any legal rights to stop her?

My step-mom is currently remarried. Her reason is she doesn't want him there (she pick the place) and she doesn't go to take care of the grave site.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Michael D. Birchmore
Michael D. Birchmore
  • Lawrenceville, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: As you might imagine, we don't see this issue come up every day. Without doing much research on this, I am providing to you a statue (law) which might mean your mother could be charged with a felony for doing this.



§ 31-21-44. Wanton or malicious removal of dead body from grave or disturbance of contents of grave; receipt, retention, disposal, or possession of unlawfully removed dead body or bodily part

(a) It is unlawful for any person wantonly or maliciously to:

(1) Remove the dead body of a human being from any grave or other place of interment or from any vault, tomb, or sepulcher; or

(2) Otherwise disturb the contents of any grave or other place of interment or any vault, tomb, or sepulcher.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to receive, retain, dispose of, or possess the dead body or any bodily part of a human being knowing it to have been removed unlawfully from any grave or other place of interment or any vault, tomb, or sepulcher. This subsection shall not apply to any person having duties imposed upon that person relating to the possession or disposition of dead bodies while in the performance of said duties, which persons shall include law enforcement personnel, coroners and medical examiners, operators of funeral establishments, cemetery operators, and medical and medical laboratory personnel.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years, or by both such imprisonment and fine.


Code 1933, § 88-2710.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1980, p. 1434, § 1; Ga. L. 1989, p. 360, § 1.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.