Our step-mother wants to bury our Father at the Riverside National CementaryWhich is fine. The problem is that the family and children want a full military service with taps, flag, plane fly over. We are also willing to pay for it. But she hassaid no she will not allow this. Does my Father have any right here or can we request what he is entitled to? Time is of the essence because he will be buried next Tuesday.Thank-you Julie
State/Country relating to question: California
Numerous phone calls and letters by family members
contacted the mortuary and cementary
I am sorry on the passing of your Dad. Unfortunately, as your father's legal immediate next of kin (even a second wife takes precedence over a biological child), she has the right to dictate whatever it is that she wants and does not want at his service and I really wish for your sake that your father had written his wishes down in a will or a final directive on these matters -- because even a handwritten note stating what he wanted for his service would have been sufficient to get these matters taken care of and his military honors included in the service. Your only other option here is to pull together 8 or 10 witnesses who knew your father well and knew that he wanted these things at his funeral and run into a court to seek an emergency injunction to force his second wife to honor these wishes. Such a court action will be expensive because it is being conducted fast and at the last minute and a lawyer would literally have to drop everything to get it done for you -- and there is still no guarantee that the court will go against what the legal wife wants to do (this is not an action that you could pull together yourself and get completed on such short notice -- it would have to be put before the court by a lawyer). I wish I could give you a firm legal way to do this without having to run to court -- but the military reps will defer to her and her authority as next of kin and nothing you can say will undo it unless she changes her mind. The military honors are wonderful -- my brother had all of this at his funeral last year (15 years AF) and I am glad we did it. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX changes her mind and wish you the best. Please let me know if you have further questions. --MARY
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15 yrs experience: Elder Law, Wills, Social Security Issues
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