Milliken, CO asked in Civil Litigation and Small Claims for Florida

Q: Can I obtain possession of my sister's ashes when I paid all expenses?

My sister passed 9/2021. I paid all expenses, equaling over $2,000, because my BIL did not have the funds. He picked up her remains since he was the husband. Now he is refusing to allow us access to her children and my mom has always wanted some of her ashes. Would I be able to be awarded possession of her ashes given I paid for everything? Or compensation? I live in Co, she passed in FL and they live in Fl.

1 Lawyer Answer
Barry W. Kaufman
Barry W. Kaufman
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: No, sorry. He is entitled by law to her ashes because he was married to your sister at the time of her death. If you can prove that the money you paid was a loan, and not a gift, you may be able to prevail in a small claims lawsuit against him. You'd have to sue him in Florida. Be forewarned of 2 things: 1. You are not guaranteed to ever see a dime from him. Don't think that you will be paid merely because you may have a judgment against him. 2. Lawsuits against family members tend to be the final nail in the coffin of familial relationships. (Also, you have no legal right to see your nieces or nephews. His right as a father to allow his children access to aunts and uncles is absolute. I personally think that its terrible to prevent children access to relatives (unless the relatives are felons, abusive, etc.,) but my opinion isn't the law.) Best of luck and I'm very sorry for your loss.

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