Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Human Ashes Do Not Pass Through Intestate Distribution

UrnIt is both sad and complicated when a young person dies unexpectedly. Scott Wilson was only 23 when he was killed in a car crash and died without a will. His divorced parents agreed that he should be cremated but could not agree what should be done with his ashes. Wilson’s father asked that the ashes be divided equally between each parent while his mother objected to dividing his remains due to religious reasons.

In Wilson v. Wilson, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals decided that Wilson’s ashes were not property and could not be divided between the parents. The court based their decision on the reasoning that human ashes should be treated like a human body, which is not property, and that this was an issue to be resolved by the state’s legislature through the probate code.

See Brett Clarkson, Son’s Ashes Can’t be Divided Between Feuding Mom and Dad, Court Rules, Sun Sentinel, May 21, 2014.


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