Can a body be disinterred & reinterred in a “family plot” ,owned by a non-relative of the deceased; a person who prohibits real family from the plot

UPDATED: May 15, 2009

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Can a body be disinterred & reinterred in a “family plot” ,owned by a non-relative of the deceased; a person who prohibits real family from the plot

Ex-wife got son to disinter his father who was buried 30+years ago to be re-interred in “family plot” that belongs to her. She has disowned some of her kids and now only those who she allows can be buried in “family plot”. A majority 5 of 8 offspring agreed to this since they are on good terms with her, but the remaining 3 have suddenly found themselves without a father to visit or be buried next to. The disinterred plot +3 more at old cemetery will be sold. I want to keep them but ex-wife is owner b/c she never deeded them back to deceased estate after it reimbursed her for the plots.

Asked on May 15, 2009 under Estate Planning, Michigan


GW, Member, Michigan and Hawaii Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

While the ex-wife has little claim to choose the burial place or disinter her former spouse, his children do. The fact that a majority of the children agree with the decision makes it less likely a court would be willing to order the body moved, especially since courts are reluctant to move bodies in the first place.

If the ex-wife failed to deed the burial plots back to the estate despite receiving compensation for them, you should take that up with the personal representative of the estate or the attorney representing the estate.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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