Who Gets the Ashes After Cremation?

The ashes are given to the person who has applied for cremation with the funeral director. The ashes can be collected by the applicant directly from the crematorium or the applicant can nominate the funeral director to collect them on their behalf. 

Who can collect ashes from the funeral director?

Similar to the above question, only the person who has arranged and authorised the cremation will be allowed to collect the ashes from the Funeral Director.

Now, ‘Who legally owns the ashes‘ is a different question to ‘Who gets the ashes after cremation‘……..

Who legally owns the cremated ashes?

This is typically left to the deceased executor, on the condition that the deceased did leave a valid and complete Will.
Failing the Will being left, the highest-ranking next of kin are entitled to the cremated remains. This is currently figured out via intestacy (ie surviving spouse/partner> deceased’s children > parents > siblings) etc
Important to note: As followed by the law a cohabiting partner or stepchildren do not figure into the above.

Family dispute over ashes

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence and the best solution is to work it out between the family members involved.
As above, the Will is used as the deciding factor as to who has the final say on the ashes. If there are multiple parties of the same standing in the ancestral order, then this is where things get tricky and again, the best solution is to work it out between yourselves to avoid potential legal fees and court hearings. The most common solution when a dispute occurs is for the interment of ashes at a permanent location.

The case of Fessi and Whitmore is a recent case that is often brought up. A child’s ashes were being argued over by the parents. They were divorced and each wanted them scattered at separate locations. This went to court and a location was decided upon by the judge.

Important Note: The courts will not force the ashes to be split as a means of compromise if one of the parties is against this solution. 

Can you sue for ashes?

The above information about the next of kin should help you understand a bit more about the legal standing of the ashes. We always recommend you consult a legal professional for standing advice and action.