My mother was buried by her husband (second marriage) in a military graveyard in the state of Florida in 2016. The cemetery was counter to her (verbal) wishes and we, her children, would never have chosen it. His choice was solely due to cost.

My sister and I would like to have her exhumed and moved to a family graveyard in Tennessee where she was born, and where her parents and her daughter are buried. However, it's very unlikely the husband would cooperate with us and he may be incapable of cooperating due to dementia.

Once he dies, would it be possible for us to do this? If so, what first legal steps would we need to take?

1 Answer 1


Florida law allows a licensed funeral director to exhume and rebury a body if they have "written authorization from a legally authorized person or a court of competent jurisdiction prior to the disinterment and reinterment of a dead human body". The law also defines a legally authorized person. Offspring are listed after the spouse in the list, so it is possible.

The case is complicated though by the fact that this is in a military cemetery. The Nat'l Cemetery Administration states its rules for disinterments: all living immediate family members of the decedent must give written consent – or, under court order. Immediate family is defined as

surviving spouse, even if remarried, all adult children of the decedent, appointed guardians(s) of minor children, the appointed guardian of the surviving spouse or of the adult child(ren) of the decedent.

That web page specifies the paper work and has a link to the form needed.

  • Thanks for the answer. We would meet the requirements of both the state and the NCA, so it looks like the answer is yes. Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 17:05

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