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Elderly mother sues family over son's sea burial

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-04-02 21:18
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An 88-year-old woman in Beijing has reached a settlement with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter following a lawsuit over her son's funeral arrangements.

The case centered on Pan, the elderly plaintiff, who accused her family of failing to inform her about the sea burial location of her son, Qiao, who passed away in 2017. Pan further alleged they donated his corneas without her consent.

She sought a public apology and compensation for emotional distress.

During the trial, the court acknowledged the family's actions did not severely violate Pan's rights. However, they found fault with the lack of communication regarding the burial specifics, considering Pan's right to pay respects to her son.

The court ordered the defendants to pay 15,000 yuan ($2,100) in compensation, which both parties accepted.

This case has sparked discussions about family communication and decision-making surrounding funerals and organ donation. Legal experts emphasize the importance of open dialogue among family members when facing such sensitive situations.

"Immediate family members, including spouses, parents, and children, should consult each other when handling funeral arrangements," said Feng Qinjuan, a lawyer at Tahota Law Firm. "In this case, Qiao's spouse and children infringed upon Pan's rights by failing to keep her informed."

Feng further clarified that organ donation can be decided by a deceased's spouse, parents, or children, provided the person did not explicitly object during their lifetime. This decision, however, must be made in writing.

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