Should My Husband Refuse to Pay $600 for His Mom’s Cremation?


Dear Penny,

My 72-year-old mother-in-law passed away last month. She had cancer, and, sadly, it took her very quickly. Before she died, she had made her wishes known to my father-in-law as to what she wanted after death, which was no funeral, just cremation, and for the family to go and have a meal together.

The problem is that my in-laws live in Britain, where my husband is from. His whole family still lives there. My husband has lived in the US for 27 years. My one brother-in-law and his wife arranged everything for my father-in-law.

Money is tight for us so we could only arrange for my husband to go. He had enough frequent flyer miles to help bring down the costs a little for us, but there are still fees and taxes involved with those tickets. The ticket cost around $450 . My brother-in-law offered to pick him up from the airport and take him back because he gets free diesel in his company van. My husband took $300 with him to cover meals and his share of the funeral meal. While he was there , he took out his dad and then his dad, brother and his family.

Fast forward to two weeks later, and we received an invoice for one-third of the cost of the cremation, which comes to around $600. The crematorium holds the ashes until the bill is paid. My husband is a little frustrated at this. He has two brothers, one who lives in the same town as his parents and the other who lives within driving distance of his parents. Neither spent a fraction of what my husband spent to get there.

We don’t know what to do. We don’t have the money immediately to pay. We can save, but it will take a couple of months. We finally paid off all of our credit cards through a consolidation loan so we don’ t want to use credit. In the meantime, my father-in-law awaits my mother-in-law’s ashes, and it’s causing a rift in relationships. The brothers aren’t extremely close already, but my husband was hoping his mum’s passing might help bridge the gap.

Can we tell…



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