Practical Issues on Cremation
04 December 2020
This weeks burning topic is that of cremation. Just a practical point rather than a legal one. If you are acting for someone who has no next of kin and wishes to be cremated a set procedure applies. Normally in those cases the client should leave an authority to the undertaker with their will giving the undertaker authority to cremate. Further your client should give you an authority to sign all necessary forms for the purposes your clients cremation (although authority can be given to the executor). Again this should be left with your clients will. For Cork and Kerry (and possibly beyond), Island Crematorium, Rocky Island, Ringaskiddy, is the location for cremation. Their procedures for cremation call for three forms. A form A signed by the undertaker, a Form B, to be signed by you the solicitor (or the executor if they consent) and a Form C to be signed by the medical attendant.
It is different in cases where there is a spouse or other next of kin as they are in a position to sign the necessary forms.
According to discussions with our local undertakers, there is no significant restrictions on how the ashes may be dealt with afterwards. The Catholic Church requires that the ashes be placed within consecrated grounds. However, beyond that religious prohibition, there appears to be no civil restriction on spreading of ashes on a mountain or at sea, which appears to be common. Our local undertaker did not recommend spreading the ashes on the back garden, as that might impact on the resale value of the property!
The cremation form contains the useful warning PACEMAKERS CAN CAUSE AN EXPLOSION IF LEFT IN A BODY WHICH IS CREMATED. While I am not a medic, one would suppose that the removal of the pacemaker is done after death, unless of course your client wishes to be very prepared!
If you have come across any unusual burial or ashes requests I would love to know. I’m dying to hear them (ouch!).