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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10395
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I need to know where my family stand, Ok My parents were/are

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Hi there
I need to know where my family stand , Ok My parents were/are foster parents, The fostered a boy (I call my Brother) from the age of 6months until his recent passing at the age of 26 years, obviously I understand that at the age of 18 it is no longer classed as fostering, but my parents were his parents, he had muscular dystrophy and learning difficulties and as such classed as a vunerable adult, he attended a Day centre, My Mother had control of his financial affairs( benefits and Banks a/cs) but there was never any legal power of attorney in place, he died without a will. Since passing both of his Biological parents have come back on to the scene, they are now separated, we have made 2 attempts to plan a funeral, the first was cancelled as his parents had expressed a wich to be included in the arrangements, a meeting between my Biological brother & Sister took place under the supervision of my Foster Brothers Day centre, with his support workers and His biological Father and Sister, his mother refused to attend I even after being offered transport, It was agreed that My Brother, the biological Father would arrange the Funeral, This took place last Tuesday, with my biological brother and sister and my foster Brothers Biological father Sister. Everything was agreed and signed, My brother had been appointed by my foster brothers bank as executor, as my Mother has been inhospital since May, they made arrangements to go to the bank together to have the invoice from the funeral directors authorised by the bank, however his father rang the bank Friday to freeze the account instructing the bank not to make any payments for a funeral !, My Foster Brother passed 3 weeks ago and his body remains at the Hospital which is very distressing, we have been advised as we are not blood relatives and no adoption or will we have no rights, please advise.

I assume that when you refer to your parents they are your natural parents but foster parents for your “brother”.

Unfortunately, what you have been told with regard to who has the rights to arrange the funeral etc is correct. The liability for this comes down on the toe of the natural parents or if they have no assets, the local authority.

With regard to the arrangements and costs of the funeral, whoever arranges it is liable to pay although ultimately they are able to recoup the money from the deceased’s estate if the deceased left any money. Funeral costs take precedence over all other claims on the estate.

If you arrange the funeral, you would be faced with paying the bill and then recovering it.

If the deceased left no money, and you didn’t want to pay for the funeral, then contact the local authority before instructing the funeral director assuming that the natural parents are happy to let whoever is arranging it, go ahead.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
His natural parents had no real contact with him whilst he was alive, he has plenty of money in his estate to cover funeral costs, and a funeral was all arranged as I advised but his Father put a block on it to which he has given no explanation, we as a family have no interest in his estate but it would seem that is all his biological parents are interested in and we are now concerned John will not get a decent funeral is there really nothing we can do, he was taken away from them by social services at 6 months old he has not lived with them since and as I said no real contact at all in 26 years.