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Question
Posted by: Scooby | 2012/07/08

Death/Cremation/Last Will

I know this is the wrong forum. Legal expert does not reply - any guidance appreciated.
2 questions:

There are 4 siblings and 1 stepmother. Father died in a suicide. Presume father wanted to be cremated asap. This was done without one of the children knowing (all adult children) - is this ok?

Secondly, when is a Will "  read"  ? How does it work? If one of the father''''s children is not mentioned, can she read the Will? If she is not mentioned but her children are (minor children), who contacts her?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sorry to hear the lawyer forum has been tardy. Obviously you do need a proper legal opinion on this - check out, as at least at one time, local law Societies offered a scheme through which you could get at least an initital 30 minute free consultation with a lawyer.
If there is a will, it is supposed to name someone as Executor, to carry out its provisions - this may be a lawyer, a bank manager, or someone in the family, even a friend. But whoever it is should be made known to anyone in the family, and should answer any proper questions about the will and the process. Once a will is dealt with, I think I gets lodged at the local office of the Master of the Supreme Court and is open to anyone to go in and see it.
There is some caution about cremating anyone, especially too quickly, if there is any real doubt about the cause of death, if there has been an accident, and if they have not seen their doctor recently enough for the doctor to be able to sign a death certificate clearly stating cause of death ( and I think a death certificate should also be available for scrutiny. )
If death is due to criminal activity, or suicide, I think there may need to be an inquest completed before the matter can be finalized, and the coroner may need to give special permission for cremation if done earlier. Because otherwise it might become too easy to murder people and then destroy the evidence by a quick cremation.
If the will doesn't leave you anything, that would still leave you with an eventual right to read it when it is lodged properly ( this may take time if the estate was complex, so that investments have to be sold or whatever ). If things were left to your minor children, I'd expect the Executor should have the duty to contact you to make suitable arrangements with regard to this. And I'm sure if you have any reasonable claim to be interested in the matter, such as simply being a child of the deceased, you should at least have the right to know the identity of the Executor, and can then approach him.
There are also faily complex rules about the procedures when someone dies intestate, that is, without leaving a will - that then divides what they leave among relatives in a set proportion.
Usually, someone should state in their will that they wish to be cremated, if this is to be done smoothly. I would expect the relatives to be informed if it was decided to cremate or even bury the person ; I don't think mits legally required for every relative to be informed, but it would be good manners at least.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Sean | 2012/07/09

You need to establish who the executor of the deceased estate is and discuss the matter with him/her. Furthermore, it sounds rather strange that the cremation would take place without any of the deceased''s children knowing about it. If the cremation has already taken place, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it. This too, should appear in the Last Will and Testament. Oftentimes when someone chooses to be cremated, it is stated in their will. I hope there is nothing sinister behind the sudden cremation and the fact that it was done without the knowledge of the deceased''s children.

Reply to Sean
Posted by: Maria | 2012/07/09

Do you know who the executor of the will is?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/07/09

Sorry to hear the lawyer forum has been tardy. Obviously you do need a proper legal opinion on this - check out, as at least at one time, local law Societies offered a scheme through which you could get at least an initital 30 minute free consultation with a lawyer.
If there is a will, it is supposed to name someone as Executor, to carry out its provisions - this may be a lawyer, a bank manager, or someone in the family, even a friend. But whoever it is should be made known to anyone in the family, and should answer any proper questions about the will and the process. Once a will is dealt with, I think I gets lodged at the local office of the Master of the Supreme Court and is open to anyone to go in and see it.
There is some caution about cremating anyone, especially too quickly, if there is any real doubt about the cause of death, if there has been an accident, and if they have not seen their doctor recently enough for the doctor to be able to sign a death certificate clearly stating cause of death ( and I think a death certificate should also be available for scrutiny. )
If death is due to criminal activity, or suicide, I think there may need to be an inquest completed before the matter can be finalized, and the coroner may need to give special permission for cremation if done earlier. Because otherwise it might become too easy to murder people and then destroy the evidence by a quick cremation.
If the will doesn't leave you anything, that would still leave you with an eventual right to read it when it is lodged properly ( this may take time if the estate was complex, so that investments have to be sold or whatever ). If things were left to your minor children, I'd expect the Executor should have the duty to contact you to make suitable arrangements with regard to this. And I'm sure if you have any reasonable claim to be interested in the matter, such as simply being a child of the deceased, you should at least have the right to know the identity of the Executor, and can then approach him.
There are also faily complex rules about the procedures when someone dies intestate, that is, without leaving a will - that then divides what they leave among relatives in a set proportion.
Usually, someone should state in their will that they wish to be cremated, if this is to be done smoothly. I would expect the relatives to be informed if it was decided to cremate or even bury the person ; I don't think mits legally required for every relative to be informed, but it would be good manners at least.

Reply to cybershrink

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