Our experience in funeral and burial disputes
Issuing urgent injunction to prevent funeral
Acting for a child of the deceased in circumstances where the deceased had died domiciled in the UK without making a will, but where there was evidence to suggest that she had expressed her wish to be repatriated and buried in the country of her birth, Nigeria. The deceased had even gone to the extent of purchasing land in the village where she was born, apparently for the purpose of returning there during the latter stages of her life.
Instructed just days before the funeral Senior Associate, Richard Adams, issued an emergency application to the High Court seeking an injunction to postpone the funeral, pending determination of a substantive claim requiring the court to determine the appropriate location of burial.
The case involved a number of unique features; the application was made during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic so the hearing had to be dealt with remotely and at short notice coupled with the particular challenges in terms of the arrangements proposed for the repatriation of the deceased’s body due to the worldwide restrictions on travel in place at the time.
Advising executors about burial dispute
Roman Kubiak, Partner, acted for the executor of an estate where the deceased died leaving a will but no instructions about his funeral and burial wishes.
The deceased was born in Ireland, but later moved to London where he resided for many years prior to his death. However, he had family living in both Ireland and the UK at the time of his death.
A dispute arose regarding the location of burial between the family and, despite efforts by the executors, no consensus could be reached.
As such, Roman issued an application for directions in the High Court. While the executors could have taken the decision themselves, to do so would have left them undoubtedly facing criticism by one or other side of the family.
In reaching its decision that the deceased should be buried in London, the court considered both written and oral evidence from a number of the deceased’s relatives, including his children.
Advising family about potential repatriation of a body
Richard Adams advised the deceased’s siblings in relation to a burial dispute, specifically as to whether the deceased should be buried in the UK where she had lived for many years before her death, or alternatively in Tanzania, being her place of birth.