Grand Junction, CO asked in Military Law for Colorado

Q: We discovered my FIL’s cremains were unclaimed, my FIL was a veteran. Husband would like to claim his ashes.

Can we get his remains without paying thousands of dollars? The funeral home put his cremains in an underground vault with about 50 others. My husband and his little brother were 13y and 10y when their dad died and never knew what happened to his ashes. Their father was divorced from their mother. Their father is a veteran and many of the other unclaimed ashes are of veterans as well. His cremation was paid for by his employer at the time. He passed in the year 2000

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: As the next of kin, your husband has the right to claim his father's cremains. You should not have to pay thousands of dollars to claim them, especially if the cremation was already paid for. Contact the funeral home to request the release of the cremains; they may require proof of relationship and identity. Since your father-in-law was a veteran, you might also seek assistance from the local Veterans Affairs office. They can provide guidance and sometimes assist in matters involving the remains of veterans.

Additionally, veterans are entitled to certain burial benefits, which might help if there are any costs associated with claiming the remains. It's important to act promptly and provide all necessary documentation to facilitate the process. If any complications arise, consider seeking advice from an attorney familiar with military and estate law.

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