June 3, 2010
No Final Rest As Yet
The Maryland Court of Appeals has remanded a case that involves a silbing war over the burial place of their mother. One faction seeks to make Israel the final resting place; the others prefer Maryland.
The litigation commenced before Mother's death. One sibling who was the primary caretaker wanted to bury her in Israel, which is where the father and a deceased sibling are interred. Evidence was proferred in the form of oral statements and a writing (the genuineness of which was hotly contested) that Mother wanted to be buried in Israel. Mother could speak several languages but could write in none.
The trial court did not consider the evidence and entered an order directing a Maryland burial. Ironically, Mother died the very next day and was interred in Maryland two days later.
Here, the court found that the trial court improperly refused to admit and consider expressions of Mother's wishes with respect to the final disposition of her body:
We vacate the judgment that was entered, and remand the case for such further proceedings as may be appropriate. In doing so, we recognize that the circumstances have changed greatly since the time when the trial court made its ruling. We express no opinion with respect to the course of action the court of equity should follow on remand.
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