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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22961
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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My brother passed away in October 2011. He decided to be

Customer Question

My brother passed away in October 2011. He decided to be cremated as this was from his wife. We have had meaning my parents have my brothers cremains. My brothers widow now wants his ashes does she have legal rights. She did get a funeral grant from WINZ but my family paid the rest of the funeral expenses even the box my brothers ashes are in. I don't think he had a legal will but I heard from his wife he left instructions so it was between them. My question is who has legal rights over my brothers cremains.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

if someone has a will then the executor of the will should decide what happens to the ashes. If there is no will but his wife looked after his effects (even if there wasnt enough to pay for the funeral). When there is no will then the Administration Act says that the surviving spouse is generally the person who winds up the estate and would decide about where the ashes go. But the ashes belong to whoever administers the estate, not who paid for the cremation.