What am I considered?

3 years, 4 months ago

Hi, My husband? Passed Away on 1/3/21.

I was married to him for 13 years and we separated 3-4 years ago and I have since been in a serious relationship. I mother his 2 biological boys and his 1 stepson. He and I were barely on talking terms, my current partner and my (husband) spoke fluidly. So now he has passed and I feel that I am responsible for everything as I would if he and I were still together, especially since we are still legally married.

His Mother & Brother have not verbalized they disagree, but I can feel some tension between his mother and I when making decisions regarding his cremation, etc.

I am reaching out to see 1, what is my title? If his Mom and I end up in a dispute, who is the ultimate deciding factor? Who should have the right to his remains and basically to be the final on decisions?

So far, I am being referred to as his next of kin. He has even though separated for 3-4 years listed me as emergency contact for everything. So that leads me to believe I should be making decisions and have final say. I just really don’t want to hurt his mothers feelings or step on her toes. So far we have been okay, but we are getting ready to get his remains and I would like to start planning his memorial and want to make sure I don’t make a miss step.

Jennifer Lane
3 years, 4 months ago

Since you were still married at the time he passed away, you would be considered his surviving spouse and legal next of kin. The most important issue here is that there is agreement for him to be cremated. While you have the right to authorize cremation and disposition of his remains as his legal next of kin, it sounds like a very delicate family situation where it is definitely recommended that his mother and brother are in agreement with him being cremated.

As for the memorial service, perhaps the best thing here is to plan it with his mother and let her make some decisions about it. Ultimately, you want a service that celebrates his life so maybe planning that with his mother and brother would be the best way to handle it.

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