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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 12086
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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This will relate to Scots lawMy husband died last year, I

Customer Question

This will relate to Scots lawMy husband died last year, I would like to understand how it was possible for my step-son to be able to arrange his funeral, I tried to contact the funeral home but they wouldn't talk to me they said I was not their client so therefore the family had asked that no information be passed to anyone without their permission. My stepson phoned me and told me I would not be involved in my husbands funeral as him and his sister didn't acknowledge me as family(we had been together for 32 years and married for 25 years). I wrote to the NAFD and they said that the funeral home should have acknowledged me as the next of kin and also the executor of his estate but that they considered the matter closed. I wrote back and asked for all paperwork relating to my husbands cremation and funeral as I wanted to know how it could be possible that all this happened without me signing anything(as his next of kin, executor) I am still waiting on the paperwork. I found out on Facebook when my husbands funeral was and I was told when I entered to sit at the back of the funeral I was not allowed at the front. I have checked online and it tells me that the forms for cremation and funeral have to be signed by the next of kin- I have signed nothing. Can you please clarify any information as to how this can happen, even his ashes were placed beside his mum and dad and he was the owner of the plot - I phoned them after I found out where his ashes were and the man on the phoned said that since my husband owned the plot then it would pass to me as his executor- how could his son have him interred there without me signing anything - Am I entitled to the paperwork - as executor I would have thought I would be - please help ! Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
In Scotland, the funeral is normally directed by the executor. You should be aware that irrespective of the fact that people use the expression, there is no legally recognised "next of kin" in Scotland. Hospitals, funeral directors and families don't understand that hence the fact that confusion and disputes arise.
As far as the plot is concerned, it was owned by your husband. Again it is unfortunate that a funeral director will take instruction from anyone that appears in their office bearing a "deed" for the plot. You are entitled to the balance of the plot, if any, unless your husband specified otherwise in a will.
My own opinion is that a surviving spouse takes precedence over children in the order of things but the executor certainly does. As all of this is after the event, however, it is difficult to advise you on any steps that you could take to alleviate this very unsatisfactory situation. As executor, however, you are entitled to all paperwork in connection with the funeral.
I hope that is of some help. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.