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Old 08-15-2019, 04:59 AM
Paul in Qatar is offline
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Claiming a Body


Jeffery Epstein died without any obvious family. His body was claimed by an associate.

How do you think this played out? You figure there some sort of pre-need authorization?

In addition what if there was no paperwork? How can a person claim a dead body of a non-family member?

Surely the authorities try to minimize the number of people buried in the back of the jailhouse in the Potter's Field.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:19 AM
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By a strange coincidence I'm reading a detective story where the central character works in an office of Amsterdam city government trying to trace the relatives of people who've died alone, in order to sort out whether the relatives will take on the funeral arrangements or let the city do a basic funeral (and recharge the costs against any of the deceased's funds they can trace or to the next of kin, if any).

I'd imagine any public authority in this situation would do something similar - and if there are no next-of-kin they might well be happy to accept known and provable business associates taking on the responsibility and any costs. The question (as in the novel I'm reading) is, how far to go to trace next-of-kin, and what sort of evidence a business associate needs to prove a suitable connection (but as long as the eventual funeral is properly documented and recorded, within legal requirements, a suitable cheque-book must be an important factor). But no doubt it varies with the jurisdiction.
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:03 AM
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My friend's sister died a while back. This sister (I'll call her Matilda) was not a nice person. She left home as soon as she graduated from high school and never looked back. She treated her parents terribly. She didn't attend her dad's funeral because she was working at a bookstore at the time and the new Harry Potter book was coming out. She was never married and had no children.

She rarely was in contact with any of the family. They never knew where she was living at any given time so they weren't able to contact her. When she did visit (once since she left as a teenager in the late 60's), she left bad feelings behind. She made rude comments, etc. She more than likely had some mental health issues.

All of sudden a couple of years ago she called her elderly mother saying she needed money. Not long after, one of the other sisters received a call from a rest home. Matilda was in the rest home (far from family) and she had Alzheimer's. She was at that time destitute. Sadly, no one in the family cared. She died within the year and once again no one cared. Neither of her sisters nor her brother would claim her body. They were called repeatedly asking someone to claim the body but they all said they didn't care what they did with it. They said it could be donated to science or cremated. They were not going to be responsible for any of it including the cost. After 6 months, whoever had the body finally gave up. I know that probably sounds harsh, but they had no love for her or even felt a connection to her.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:39 AM
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What I am trying to ask is what do you have to show to The Proper Authorities to take a body? Proof of familial relationship? Some sort of legal document?
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
Jeffery Epstein died without any obvious family. His body was claimed by an associate.

How do you think this played out? You figure there some sort of pre-need authorization?

In addition what if there was no paperwork? How can a person claim a dead body of a non-family member?

Surely the authorities try to minimize the number of people buried in the back of the jailhouse in the Potter's Field.
Epstein has a brother, Mark.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TRC4941 View Post
I know that probably sounds harsh, but they had no love for her or even felt a connection to her.
To me, the thing about this story that sounds harsh is that they were punishing the facility, not the sister. It's not the mortuary/coroner's fault that they hated their sister, but they paid the price for it.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
Surely the authorities try to minimize the number of people buried in the back of the jailhouse in the Potter's Field.
But it happens. We have a cemetery on the grounds of a prison in downstate New York. If a prisoner dies and nobody claims the body, we will transport the body there, hold a service, and bury him.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:12 PM
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Technically, the body is the property of his estate, once released by the coroner. So the executor named in his will would be the one to decide. (That's probably his brother Mark, though it might be an attorney.) So a copy of the will showing X as executor would probably be enough documentation to get the body released to you.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
Technically, the body is the property of his estate, once released by the coroner. So the executor named in his will would be the one to decide. (That's probably his brother Mark, though it might be an attorney.) So a copy of the will showing X as executor would probably be enough documentation to get the body released to you.

Thank you. That is what I was looking for.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
Technically, the body is the property of his estate, once released by the coroner. So the executor named in his will would be the one to decide. (That's probably his brother Mark, though it might be an attorney.) So a copy of the will showing X as executor would probably be enough documentation to get the body released to you.
Not necessarily correct. My experience is that the body goes to the next of kin regardless of the estate. I know because my sister and I went to court over my father's estate and while we got possession of his body, his ex-wife (and executrix) was trying to steal his estate from us.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:15 AM
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Not necessarily correct. My experience is that the body goes to the next of kin regardless of the estate.
Second this. Part of my job has to do with the disposition of dead bodies. In every jurisdiction I’m familiar with the body, unless there is very explicit prior granting of power of attorney, is considered separately from the estate. There’s a hierarchy for next of kin, starting with spouse, then adult children, then parent, then adult siblings, then...dunno. Probably varies.

My reading between the lines of the Epstein situation (especially now that someone upthread said he has a brother) is that a family member authorized an “associate” to carry out the act of claiming the body, such that the body may have been physically released to said associate, who is acting as an agent of the next of kin. (Further between the lines: Said next of kin did this to stay out of the fray.)
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