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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
Please accept my condolences for your loss.
Would I be correct in my understanding that your father was married to your stepmother please? Do you know if he left a will?
Yes he was married - no I do not know about any wills
The rights to organise your fathers funeral will lie with his executors and/or his spouse and they have relatively free discretion as to the organisation of the same.
Funeral directors will typically only deal with the person that is paying their account or persons authorised by that person.
My understanding then is that concerning viewing the body at the funeral directors my step mother is within her rights to prevent me seeing the body?
Unfortunately as a result though you can ask permission to attend your father in the chapel of rest or whichever place his body is being kept safe before the funeral, permission can be refused, and regrettably there is no means of appeal other than to his spouse or executors.In terms of attending the crematorium, there should be little difficulty in you physically attending as they are open to public admittance. It would of course be distressing for all parties potentially, in particular you if the family were to cause a scene.
Accordingly ideally you would consider notifying the family of you wish to attend his funeral potentially expressing your position that though you regret your previous estrangement, you did take steps to repair your relationship before your fathers passing and it is important to you to be able to say goodbye to your father
If they refuse or you do not wish to do so you can physically attend the crematorium on the day of the funeral and force cannot be used to remove you though it would be possible for you to be asked to leave voluntarily and if there was a question of public order, for the police to be called, though in the assumption that violence would not be a threat, then there should be little basis to fear this.
This is what I thought. I have already tried to contact my step mother by phone to make an appeal but she replaced the receiver before I had chance to speak to her.
I think they do not want me to attend the crematorium. I want to reassure them that my intentions are solely to pay my last respects but it is difficult to do this if they won't speak to me.
You may wish to consider an email or letter but failing which ultimately they cannot physically prevent you from attending if you know the time and place it is being held. In these circumstances, perhaps a low key attendance might be the best approach with consideration that you go with someone to support you in case there is any form of scene which may be potentially upsetting for you. In these circumstances having a friendly face for support might be very desirable.
I would take my husband and go with my brother but it looks like in the interests of my fathers memory it is best that I stay away. However I would like to put an entry in the book of remembrance, can the family prevent me from doing this?
Perhaps it is something you should discuss with your family. It is important you make the right decision for you but equally you do not want to put yourself in a position where you are exposed to an upsetting response from your step mothers family without support as this could be quite upsetting for you potentially on what would already be an emotional time.
In terms of the book of remembrance, they could prevent you from putting something in any private book of remembrance they choose to create but not in the official book maintained by the crematorium. You can contact the crematorium at or just after the funeral to make an entry in the same.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Thank you. Would the same apply to a memorial plaque at the crematorium?
A plaque is something that must be paid for and unfortunately the right to erect one lies with the spouse/executor so regrettably this would be something that would need the consent of the above. Do you think your father may have left you anything in his will and would this be something you would wish to pursue potentially or not at this time?
I don't think there are any assets to speak of and I would be happy to pay for a plaque. I am not meaning a memorial stone or grave, just a little plaque on the wall of remembrance at the crematorium.
I have one of these for my mother and it gives me comfort when I visit the crematorium.
Thank you. This would be a matter that would be up to the crematorium depending upon their policy. Any official plaque, for example one that is erected next to an urn would be a matter for the family as above. If the crematorium maintains a separate memorial wall in addition to a book of remembrance which allows for friends and family to erect memorial plaques then this can be organised directly with the crematorium in accordance with their rules. I do not think all crematoriums offer this facility but I may be wrong about this. It is something you can perhaps raise with them at the same time as submitting your entry for their book of remembrance.
Most crematoriums offer some form of memorial service however and it is likely that something fitting may be available from the crematorium
It may be sensible to wait until after your fathers funeral before contacting them on the point. Many crematoriums have a website these days which has details of the various forms of memorial they offer which can be many and varied such as a memorial garden, wall, hall and so on
Thank you for your help which I am very appreciative of.
I hope you are able to reach a decision you are satisfied with for your fathers funeral. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.
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Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX I want to remember my father but I do not want a family feud to mar his memory. As it looks like I can add an entry in the book of remembrance and possibly arrange a plaque this will suffice for me.
Thank you again