Steps to exhuming a body

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The process of exhuming a body in New York.

WHERE TO START.

The first calls are to a funeral home director who deals with the cemetery and a lawyer who can help with a court order, if needed. The cemetery sets a date for the disinterment, usually in the fall and early in the day before other burial parties arrive. The funeral director then files for a disinterment permit with the registrar of the cemetery's town, usually granted within the day.

SURVIVORS' CONSENSUS.

A disinterment can be requested by a relative but requires agreement by immediate survivors such as the parents, spouse and children, the cemetery corporation and plot owner.

COURTS' ROLE.

Without everyone's agreement, the person who wants the exhumation can petition a county court or Supreme Court justice for an order. Many cemeteries require court orders. The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which owns the cemetery and seeks orders on a case-by-case basis, has indicated it may call for a court order in this case, a spokesman said yesterday.

TRANSPORTATION. Depending on the coffin's condition, it can travel in the funeral director's hearse. If in poor condition, it must be put into a concrete vault, which may be transported by the concrete vault company vehicle.

STEEP COSTS.

It can cost several thousand dollars, including attorney's fees and payments to the funeral director who handles the proceedings. Transportation, the medical examination, reburial and cemetery costs add to the final bill.

 

SOURCES:

Michael Sceppa, vice president of the Pinelawn Memorial Park and Cemetery; Sean Dolan, spokesman for the Diocese of Rockville Centre; Wesley A. Powell, funeral director of the Powell Funeral Home in Amityville

Compiled by Carol Polsky and Michael Amon

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