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My brother took my mother and stepfathers ashes to his house in Eastern Wa., and gave me none to have for my own keepsakes. I wanted to make a necklace from them. That was in 1997, and I've got much more attitude now. Can I sue him for equitable ashes? He paid for her cremation from her bank acct, including some of his own money. Does that entitle him to all the ashes? He was also the executor of our mothers' estate at her request. I was too overwhelmed with grief to be of any help.

  • I don't point it out in the answer, but strictly speaking anyone with a filing fee, and some paper and ink can sue anyone, but it is clear from context that you actually mean whether you have legal grounds to prevail in a lawsuit against your brother. – ohwilleke Feb 1 '18 at 0:04
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The statute of limitations to make a claim for the ashes from a 1997 cremation (i.e. more than twenty years ago) under pretty much any conceivable legal theory has expired as of January 2018. You no longer have a timely legal claim and any rights you may have had to the ashes, or any portion of them, is now forfeit. Realistically, it probably would have been untimely to claim them any time after the estate was closed which would have been many, many years ago.

Nothing, however, prevents you from asking your brother nicely if he would share some of the ashes with you, perhaps intimating that your mother and stepfather would have wanted him to do that, and he might cooperate.

  • Just for a clarity, do you mean it actually expired on January 2018, or January 2018 is at least too late but probably expired prior. Because it’s pretty coincidental/horrible that their claim would expire on the exact month they asked about it 20 years later. – DasBeasto Feb 1 '18 at 1:47
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    @DasBeasto I mean that January 2017 is far too late, whenever it actually expired much sooner. The point of using "as of" language is to make it clear to later readers when the answer and question were written. – ohwilleke Feb 1 '18 at 4:00
  • Thank you all. I asked if I could have some ashes in 2015, and he said no. Maybe down the road my sister in law might acquiesce. – user15363 Feb 1 '18 at 4:35

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