My Sister In Law Wants Me To Return My Brothers Ashes After 7 Years

My sister in law who now has heart failure informed me that she wants my brothers ashes back after 7 years because when she dies,she wants her ashes and my brothers scattered around the property.I am against this and was hoping someday to inter them in a Catholic cemetary when I have the money.Since she was married to him for 25 years,would it be unethical for me not to return them.She did marry another man after my brother died and is currently seperated from this man.She refuses to speak to me and has cut me off from seeing my nephew,unless I return the ashes.Dont know what to do.:frowning:

Any chance she knew what your brother wanted???

I imagine she has no legal stance here.

Are we talking the mother AND father of your nieces and nephews? Perhaps it would be nice for THEM their parents are finally together???

The Church, as far as I know, only requires they be disposed of in the same location. Not seperated here and there.

And while it would be nice if his ashes went into a Catholic Cemetary. It’s just land.

Choose your battles.

We’re really not meant to hang onto someone’s remains after they die. Your brother’s ashes should have been interred shortly after his death. As Catholics, we are reminded to treat everyone’s body with dignity and not scatter their ashes. I know it’s too late but this problem wouldn’t have happened had your brother’s ashes been buried after his death. Now, you have a real problem.

My sister in law gave me the ashes of my brother along with the certificate of cremation,once she met another man who later became her husband.I know the church is against the scattering of ashes,so I offered to compromise,and give them back on the condition that she bury them on the property.I also wanted a clergyperson to come and bless the land and pray over the ashes,but she disagreed.She wants total control and doesn’t want me to have a say.

Excuse me Real Juliane,but I didn’t have the money and didn’t own a plot.I am aware that cremains are supposed to be buried right away,but the church doesn’t take into account a persons finances.

Having never had to deal with such an issue, what is the cost around you? Hopefully this information could help others.

Thank you.

Hi.I have called a number of cemetaries and the prices for single plots are around $5,000 dollars.If I wanted his cremains to be buried in a garden, a small space would cost me around $2,000.Am a fulltime Caregiver to an elderly uncle and do not have the money to bury him,but I am reluctant to turn over his ashes to my sister in law,not knowing what she will do for sure with them.She is protestant and not religious.She did mention scattering them with her own upon her death,but I dont want that.

What about laying them to rest in a mausoleum? My grandma was constantly telling me how guilty she felt for not looking into the price of mausoleums for her sister. Her sister wanted to be in one but it was assumed that was the more expensive route. It turned out it was actually the cheaper route.

I think a call to your parish priest would be a good idea. I would think he would be able to suggest an affordable option that is in line with church teaching. If you don’t have luck there, I would call your diocese. With the financial strain so many are under these days the church must have some options for the faithful.

And no I would not give them back. God only knows what she will do with them. What happens if she finds another man? She can’t just keep passing them around and if she’s no longer on good terms with you, who knows where his remains will end up.

Is there a deceased family member that already has a plot that your brother’s remains could be buried in?

Contact your priest and/or your diocese and ask about columbaria options. A columbarium is a wall niche in which ashes are interred. The price is typically much less than a cemetery plot. Many Catholic Churches and cemeteries have colmbaria. You should also check to see what financial assistance may be available through parish or diocesan sources to help with the cost should you not be able to afford it.

Is it possible that your brother is eligible for a military plot?

If he ever served it might be worth looking into. If he is eligible, he would have a plot, opening and closing and a headstone and you wouldn’t owe a dine.

This right here. If your brother wanted to be buried in Catholic fashion, rather than have his ashes scattered around, then it would seem clear to me that such would be the clear way ahead (and one could remind the sister that she shows true love for her lost husband by honoring his wishes in that regard and allowing him to be properly interred)

Call your pastor.

I was about to suggest the same thing.

I think since your SIL is the next of kin, the ashes legally belong to her. :frowning:

What you can do is tell her of the Catholic belief that the ashes must be burried or interred and let her know when the time comes, she can have her ashes placed with his.

Possession is 9/10s of the law. If she gave him the ashes with no legal stipulation that he return them after a certain time, then they belong to him now. The fact that she inherited an object does not entitle her to demand the return of that object if/when she gives it away.

I wonder if she is still next of kin. They divorced and she remarried, wouldn’t she have relinquished any claim to him?

I read the OP that the wife is his widow. She didn’t remarry until after he died.

Right, missed that.

Does that change the outcome?

I would have a hard time giving the cremains back. What if she goes back to her current husband? What will she do with them then? And why would she need them to scatter with hers? Wouldn’t their children need them?

Thanks everyone for your replies and support.My goal is to have his ashes buried with my mom,but unfortunately I don’t hold the deed to the grave which went missing.I was told that I would need to get permission from the Brooklyn archdiocese,and then to open the grave it would cost close to $1500 which I currently do not have.Am working on getting a job,but I dont want to return the ashes as I dont trust my sister in law would do the right thing.Legally,I am the owner,since they were given to me a year after my brother died,and I also have the cremation certificate.I am now cut out of my my nephews life and am not allowed to see him or talk to him.

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