Court: Young man's ashes can't be divided between feuding parents

By: CBS
By: CBS

Wellington, FL (CBS) - A state appeals court in Florida has ruled that the ashes of a young man killed in a car crash cannot be divided between his divorced parents, CBS Tampa reported.

A three-judge panel at the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled last week that the remains of Scott Wilson are not property that can be halved into two equal parts.

"It is a sorrowful matter to have relatives disputing in court over the remains of the deceased," Judge Martha Warner wrote, according to the Sun Sentinel. "In this case in particular, there is no solution that will bring peace to all parties."

The court's decision cited debates about human remains dating as far back as the 1700s, prior cases in Florida, and the state's current legislation.

Wilson died on Feb. 12, 2010, when a Bentley driven by multimillionaire polo magnate John Goodman hit Wilson's Hyundai Sonata and pushed it into a canal.

Wilson's parents, William Wilson Jr. and Lili Wilson, were divorced at the time of his death and agreed to cremate his body. But they couldn't agree on how to distribute his ashes. He did not leave a will or any instructions on what to do with his remains. The ashes have remained in an urn at a Royal Palm Beach funeral home.

William Wilson Jr. sought to bury his son's ashes in a family plot in Blue Ridge, Ga., and he asked the court to legally divide the remains, but his ex-wife opposed dividing the ashes.

The father's lawyer, Joy Bartmon, told the Sun Sentinel she was disappointed with the decision.

"This opinion does not guide the trial court in the determination to be made," Bartmon wrote in the email to the Sun Sentinel. "Instead, what will occur when the decision as to the ashes goes back to the trial court, is what I wanted to avoid. The final resting place for this young man may be left to the discretion of an administrator who never knew him."

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