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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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IS IT LAWFUL FOR A CEMETARY TO REMOVE YOUR LOVED ONES REMAINS TO ANOTHER GRAVESITE WITHIN THE CEMETARY WITHOUT PERFORMING DUE DILEGENCE TO LOCATE A FAMILY MEMBER? In this instance the plot sold in 1991to bury that loved one, had somehow been sold in 1972 to someone else. This was an error on the part of the cemetary.

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry to hear about this situation.

I want to make sure I understand the situation. Are you saying that in 1991 the cemetery allowed you to bury your loved one in a plot they had sold to someone else previously in 1972, and later disinterred your loved one and moved them to another site without first contacting a family member?

Also, were you involved in the funeral arrangements? How would the cemetery have known how to find you?

I look forward to hearing back from you and helping you find an answer to your question,.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes. your clarification statement is correct. As for finding us, it may not have been immediately clear. My mothers name has changed since then. However, the deceased had a last name of Lukkasson. Not a common name. And with a quick search in the state, every one of the names that come up are family members. Or maybe a quick view at the original obituary. Even placing it in the local paper. Isn't there a requirement to perform some sort of due diligence? Even then. Once they determined their error, it seems they should have relocated the other party who had not yet deceased, or at least been laid to rest. Isn't there protection in that way?

Thank you for your response.

A summary of the law is that if they are moving the body from one plot to another in the same cemetery, this is legal, but they are required to provide notice to the immediate family members.

Washington State law controlling this situation can be found at:

68.50.200 Permission to remove human remains.
Human remains may be removed from a plot in a cemetery
with the consent of the cemetery authority and the written
consent of one of the following in the order named:
(1) The surviving spouse or state registered domestic
(2) The surviving children of the decedent.
(3) The surviving parents of the decedent.
(4) The surviving brothers or sisters of the decedent.
If the required consent cannot be obtained, permission
by the superior court of the county where the cemetery is situated is sufficient: PROVIDED, That the permission shall
not violate the terms of a written contract or the rules and regulations of the cemetery authority.

RCW 68.50.200 and 68.50.210
do not apply to or prohibit the removal of any human remains
from one plot to another in the same cemetery or the removal
of [human] remains by a cemetery authority from a plot for
which the purchase price is past due and unpaid, to some
other suitable place; nor do they apply to the disinterment of
human remains upon order of court or coroner. However, a
cemetery authority shall provide notification to the person
cited in RCW 68.50.200 before moving human remains.

You may file a complaint for the failure to provide you with notice and the cemetery's improper burial at:

Please let me know if you need further information.

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