Our brother was cremated without our authorization by his girl friend,

Asked over 1 year ago - Houston, TX

My brother was put in a nursing Home and being declared unable to care for himself, due to Alzheimer about 7 or 8 months ago. This was evidenced by phone calls from his neighbors and even a conversation with police regarding his tearing up neighbor's property. After he was in for a short period of time, my brother's girlfriend, changed his will leaving everything to her . Prior to that , I did offer her to have him moved to Houston so I could care for him.

My sister and I each tried to make phone calls to him and every time we called we were told that he was too sick to come to the phone and that he wouldn't know us. We discussed going to see him, but because we were told he wouldn't know us anyway we decided not to go.

One day a few months ago she called to tell me that he was in renal failure and would not last more than 2 weeks to 2 months ,and she asked if we would be interested in taking drastic measures. I assumed that she was talking that she was asking if we would want to speed his death. I said, "I am pretty sure that is not what" and I would want to confer with my sister. Of course, we didn't want this. During this same conversation, she said "her new husband " was jealous of the time she spent with my brother

My brother died two days later. The estate attorney sent us a consent form for power of attorney, giving her permission to cremate him. We were still discussing this with her and him on Dec. 12(all emails available), when she had him cremated on Dec. 13.

The attorney had told us that he would need authorization from us and without it he couldn't proceed with cremation, but it was done without it. Later we found out that my brother was declared abandoned by the funeral director . We were told that according to Louisiana law the body had to be on ice for 30 days before being declared abandoned.We tried to get the whole file released to us but he refused citing he is her attorney and only released partial documents. We asked the funeral companies (there were two of them) to release his file and they each released partial documents and did not release all. We filed a complaint with the funeral Board of Louisiana and instead of explaining why they are not releasing his whole file, they just rehashed what happened. At this point we feel we need an attorney to take up our cause , because it appears the attorney and the funeral directors are cooperating in preventing us to prove wrongdoing.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Fran Brochstein

    Contributor Level 18

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am truly sorry for your loss.
    I agree with the other attorney. You need to meet with an attorney and discuss your case in person.

    Now you realize since you never made an appearance in Louisiana to visit your brother and "no one" knew you existed. Of course, in hindsight you realize you should have done this.

    If this woman does not have any money, I' m not sure what you hope to gain other than venting your anger. Lawsuits are expensive and time consuming. You need to give some serious thought into what you hope to gain by a lawsuit before moving forward. Discuss with the attorney about the realistic results of a lawsuit. With tort reform, you might be surprised at the end result -- it might not be worth suing.

    Attorney Brochstein is donating her time and talent by answering questions to help those in need of legal... more
  2. James Gregory Las Cola

    Contributor Level 13

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hi, I am sorry for your loss and the difficultly you have experienced. I agree with Counselor Potter's assessment that it appears from your post you would benefit from an evaluation by an experienced contested probate litigator who practices in the county your bother resided in at the time of he went to be with the Lord. You can search here on Avvo.com as I have found many of the best practitioners in the country participate on this website.

    Of course, as always this answer is general in nature, applies only to Illinois law, assumes certain facts omitted... more
  3. Michael Leo Potter

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm very sorry to hear this. I'd sit down with a Litigation Attorney in your area. See Avvo.com under Find-A-Lawyer. She was not his next of kin and proceeded without authority. Good Luck on this.

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