Iowa Supreme Court Permits Removal of Deceased Spouse's Remains

The Iowa Supreme Court recently issued a ruling granting the surviving spouse the right to disinter and reinterr her deceased husband's remains.  It seems that the widow of Joseph Stark wasn't real happy that her husband was buried next to his first wife.  After thinking a few months about it, she decided to have him dug up and moved to a new cemetery to be buried with his parents.  The kids from the first marriage did not take too kindly to having dad and mom separated, so the battle was on.

Based on Iowa Code § 144.34, the Court found that if the state issues the permit with the consent of the surviving spouse, a court cannot override that permit.  The procedure to get a permit only requires that a spouse, or the next of kin if there is no surviving spouse, apply for a permit for purposes of autopsy or reburial.

All the Stark children need to do now is wait until step-mom passes, then go back to the State of Iowa for a permit to dig dad up again and move him back.  This sounds like a good process to keep grave diggers in business.

A better approach would be to enact legislation enabling an individual to select their designee to make the decision over disposition of their body remains.  This allows the individual to make the decision over what happens to their body by choosing who makes that decision.  Until then, communicate with ALL of your family as to your wishes and hopefully they will honor your intentions.

Is there is no peace in death?

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