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My brother died August 2013, it is now the end of October 2013. We do not have his ashes or his death certificate.

Long Beach, CA |

They funeral home came to the hospice to pick up his body the day he died. A week later I signed all the paperwork they needed to proceed with the cremation. I paid them out-of-pocket b/c my brother didn't have insurance. They said they'd deliver them to the church the day of the memorial. We still do not have the ashes. His partner is still getting collections letters b/c we do not have a death certificate. I know at the bare minimum we may have an IIED/NIED case. I think there is a specific cause of action as well. What is it? And what are our options (yes, we intend to go to a lawyer but, I want to be prepared)

Attorney Answers 2


  1. I am sorry for your loss. These claims are typically based on a a negligence cause of action seeking damages for NIED and/or IIED depending on the specific facts of your case. My firm has handled similar cases where the funeral home substituted dirt in place of ashes after losing the remains of a loved one. These cases are oddly not too uncommon and are often unprosecuted because of the delays due to misinformation and grieving on the part of the surviving loved ones.
    Hope this helps,.
    Best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.


  2. IIED/NIED are very difficult to prove, and you will have a hard time getting a judgment in a case like this. That said, if you want your brother's ashes, and the funeral home has refused, have an attorney write them a letter, showing proof of payment, and demanding the ashes. At least you can get the ashes and perhaps some small compensation for the delay. Hopefully you have a paper trail or log of your demands to the funeral home for the ashes.

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