Friday, February 22, 2013
A woman executed a will that specified her wish to be buried in a "moderately priced wooden coffin" in a family plot located in Billings, Montana.
Her wishes in that regard were reaffirmed in a letter to her family prior to her death, where she noted that she had "bought a casket made by [Trappist] Monks" to hold her remains.
She also identified Billings as her earthly home and ended with this:
I know that you all love me and want to honor my final requests, and that is why I am writing this to you. I just want all of you to know that this is very important to me and because you all love and respect me I know that you will see my wishes are carried out.
When she passed away, her husband of sixty years decided to place her at permanent rest in Iowa.
The Iowa Supreme Court held today that the rights of the surviving spouse trump the wishes of the decedent and that the husband could proceed as he wished.
There is a dissent by Chief Justice Cady, joined by Justice Zager:
I am confident our legislature did not intend the result in this case, nor to render future generations of Iowans powerless to direct for themselves their funeral arrangements and final disposition of their remains.
The remains remained at an Iowa funeral home pending a final court order.
The Gazette reported yesterday that the husband is a retired attorney who had separated from the deceased in 1996. She took ill and died while visiting him in Iowa. (Mike Frisch)