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The legal guardian of my father refuses to honor his end of life wishes to be buried and plans to cremate him, stating that she plans to put something in place so that none of the siblings can contest her decision. Her reason? Says no one would attend his funeral anyway and it's cheaper to cremate. She mentioned before that she's not planning to return to handle the arrangements when the time comes and the nursing home can take care of it! I told her he deserves dignity and respect and to honor his wishes but my plea was ignored. Unfortunately, the pre-planned funeral document he completed wasn't signed. I have a copy and plan to ask him to initial and date it so it can be provided to the nursing home. My concern is since she's his legal guardian, can she overrule his honorary wishes and proceed with cremating him? Her behavior about this is cold and callous, and we're no longer in contact. It makes me ill.


PS to father's funeral wishes...


I forgot to add that he has plenty of funds in his estate to cover the cost of his funeral expenses, and that's what my father initially intended, but the guardian doesn't want to use it for burial expenses. However, the court approves paying her attorney's fees and reimbursing her for travel expenses from his estate, as is part of the guardianship ruling. I understand that's part of the court's decision, but refusing to honor his funeral wishes is deplorable!

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Contact the court that appointed her guardian and ask how to intervene.
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What would the guardian's motive be for "saving money" on funeral costs? Does the guardian stand to inherit?

Definitely contact the court.
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I'm very sorry to read this, Lilly. Horrible, and yes I'm not surprised it makes you feel ill.

Your sister wants the NH to take care of it... H'mm. Now there's an idea.

The NH, being on hand, need to have clear instructions from the resident and his/her family about what to do when the time comes. Try this. Take the form that your father has been unable to sign to the NH administration team, and explain that these are his wishes, and request that they process the information as they think best. They may continue to try to catch him at a good moment and get his signature. They may file the form and regard it as advisory only. But meanwhile, they must have something in your father's records about what to do in the event of his passing - do you know what it is? If that box hasn't yet been completed, your father's unsigned form could become the default option.

So, in brief: hand over to NH. The reason you shouldn't attempt to get the form signed yourself is that if you do, your sister will claim that you forged the initial or the signature or co-erced your father inappropriately, and she will feel entirely justified in ignoring it altogether. It will be counterproductive.

If your sister said these cruel, cold things at the peak of a blazing row with you then she may reflect and reconsider in her own time. If not, and the row only arose because of her plans, she will still find it difficult to interfere with instructions that the NH have already begun to act on.

But either way, this battle is not worth your having. I am not an atheist, and I feel as indignant as you must about your father's wishes being treated with such contempt. But STILL it is not worth the fight. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. Your father will neither know nor care what takes place. All you will have to do is be there to pay your own respects, and afterwards you can choose to tell your sister what you think of her or not, as you see fit. What happens to your father's body after his passing is the very least important aspect of caring for him. Save all your energy for comforting and supporting him now, while he's able to benefit.
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contact a lawyer
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Thanks for your responses. I contacted the court and was advised by the auditor who reviews the estate's invoices NOT to contact them regarding such issues, as it's considered "exparte communication" and that I should hire my own attorney. I thought her reply was rude. The motive for the guardian not to honor our father's wishes is for personal gain, as she's one of the beneficiaries.
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So you not only have to be physically intact you also have to be looking in the right direction at the crucial moment? Gosh. Salvation is going to be even trickier than I realised.

Forgive me. People do have strong religious beliefs and important traditions, and I absolutely agree that these should be honoured. Heavens! - *legally* they must be respected by the person's executor, it isn't even a matter of choice.

But people who feel so strongly normally make sure they have everything down in writing. The OP's father, unfortunately, had not done so; but perhaps in that case his convictions are less certain.
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I'm a bible believer but will be donating my body to the local medical school then will be cremated. We are nowhere told in scripture that we must be buried in a grave. People think they can "imitate Christ," as though any human truly ever has or could, thus the traditions and burial customs. Many thousands of bible believers have been drowned or burned to dust over time. I'm assured in scripture that on death of the body, the soul goes where it is supposed to immediately, and that we get a new body in the fullness of times; our bodies on this earth matter not. My own mother would not be pleased that we will be cremating her, but she refused to discuss burial plans with me or anybody else when she was able to make those plans herself. To make several family members happier, I arranged it so she will be embalmed and dressed beautifully, her body displayed at her childhood catholic church for visitation then a mass, then she'll be cremated and the ashes buried in a nice marble container in the ground next to my dad a few days later. My pagan sister and niece want pieces of her ashes to put in jewelry, which disgusts me every time I think of it. With my nasty sense of humor, I asked them if they wanted bones they could put in their noses also. Oh the fun of being in charge, so many people you have to try to satisfy...
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The nursing home has agreed to direct your father's funeral?? Maybe I misunderstood because that sounds really odd. No nursing home I'm familiar with would ever get involved in carrying out funeral plans (regardless of whose plans they are). Once a resident dies, the family directs what happens to the remains. In the absence of family, the POA makes those decisions. Your sibling can't relinquish those duties to the nursing home and the nursing home would not accept them if she did. She would still be carrying out the plans.
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To clarify, your father is alive, but has a court ordered guardian? I am guessing that means he is not competent to make decisions?

Is the guardian also a beneficiary to the estate? Or is the guardian a public trustee? If the guardian is a beneficiary of the estate then her choice to ignore his wishes could be called into question if it is just a matter of money.

How do the other siblings feel about this? Did you father discuss his wishes with others who could back you up?

Does your dad have a cemetery plot? If he is cremated who will have the cremains? Perhaps if you cannot have your father's wishes acknowledged, you can take care of his cremains?

Personally I do not understand the desire to be buried, it is not how 'we do things' in my family, but if this is important to you, you may have to adapt to a reality you cannot easily change.
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It sounds so easy to recommend legal counsel however Lillybloom will have to pay for those costs. Any legal action the guardian takes will be covered by the estate. So, Lillybloom tries to do what is right by her father and yet has to pay for it. Legal advice is good but expensive. I would try to petition the court to remove your sister as guardian as she sounds like she is more interested in what she would like done rather than your father's wishes and this is not what a good guardian should do. She should also be communicating with the entire family on this matter and it sounds like she is not doing that effectively. Sorry to hear you are dealing with this and good luck!
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