When you bury your loved ones, most of the time you do so with the intent that they remain where they are buried forever. However, sometimes circumstances arise where it becomes necessary to disturb our loved one’s final rest, and remove them from their grave, at least for a time. When that happens, it becomes necessary to ask for a disinterment.
Disinterment is the process by which a dead body is legally exhumed from its final resting place. Typically, requesting a disinterment is as simple as having the party or parties with the right to disinter file an affidavit consenting to the disinterment, although this can be complicated if there are multiple parties contesting who has the right to disinter a body. If there are no legal complications, however, the body can be legally exhumed without fear of accusations that the gravesite has been defiled.
There are several reasons someone might disinter a dead body. Most commonly, it is for medical examination purposes, such as if information comes to light that calls into question the person’s official cause of death. Another reason might be to move the body from its current resting place to a family plot elsewhere, if the family plot was acquired after the person’s death. Finally, there might be a question as to whether the person buried at the plot is the correct person, if there is reason to fear there might be a case of mistaken identity.
While these are all extraordinary circumstances, they are more common than most people realize. If that happens, you’ll need legal representation to assist you. The experienced attorneys at Wingate, Kearney & Cullen, LLP are familiar with cemetery law and can assist in establishing and obtaining all required authorizations for disinterment. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (718) 852-5900 or fill out our contact form.