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Who is entitled to possession of ashes or remains of deceased?

My ex husband died in July 2007. Since that time I have been trying to retrieve his ashes for my children who are all young adults. They are his sole heirs. He was cremated. He was living in Virginia at the time. A woman was living with him who has possession at this time. She now resides in Ma as well. His funeral was paid for by him. Three urns were created, one for his mother in Greece, one for me and one for her. She has cut off communication with the family and will not return the urn to my children. I don't know if this is criminal or small claims. I have called every person I could think of, written to bothe the Attorney General in Ma and Va and contacted the local police with no help. I simply don't knowwhat to do and this is very very important. This is their father.I just need direction.

 
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Editor's Response

My understanding of the law in Massachusetts on this subject is that the heirs and/or the next of kin are entitled to the remains of deceased persons.  Those remains, or ashes, or cremains as they are often called, are in a very real sense the property of the heirs/kin.  In cases were the deceased was married, the remains are the property of the spouse.  I'm sorry about your situation, but I can understand why the authorities are not too excited about jumping into this.  Unless you can sweet talk the lady into giving you the ashes, I think your only option is to contact an attorney who does litigation work and ask him or her to write a letter.  I know it is an expense, but I can't think of another alternative for you.  Usually a well worded letter will do the trick, especially when the other party is so clearly in the wrong.  Good luck.

possession of ashes

Thank you for your response. I still don't understand if she is clearly in possession of something that does not belong ot her, why will no one help me. If i can not get her to respond through a letter from an attorney, will i then have to take her to court? If so, what is it considered/ Small claims or criminal or family court?

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