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Missing jewelry—what to do?

Sadly, sometimes families do tell us of lost or possibly stolen jewelry or personal effects. There is little to nothing that can be done after the fact. FCA believes a simple inventory protocol, in writing, with pictures and cross-checks, should be a basic standard at all funeral homes and crematories.

We have changed the names in this story to protect family privacy.

Dear FCA,

I am writing regarding an event that occurred during my cousin Mary’s January 20th death and subsequent cremation in NYS.

I am copying in her daughter Janice who experiences her loss daily. Mary was a very beloved woman.

As you know grief takes it toll and arrangements and signatures are required in the midst of a blur.

The arrangement for cremation was made by the funeral director. At some point in the process Mary’s rings and jewelry which included a special rosary were not set aside and never returned. The funeral director apologized knowing the unreplaceable mementoes had been possibly creamated? Or where? Taken?

Janice raised the question to me about protocols and protections that might/should be in place.

I turn to you both who have vast experience in this arena. While there is no retrieval possible in this situation, what could/should have happened to prevent a loss upon a loss.

Many thanks for your anticipated reply and assistance.

Hello everyone,

I’m very sorry to hear about the death, and the problems afterward.

Any professionally run funeral home/crematory should be taking an inventory of jewelry or other possessions with the deceased. This should include writing them down in detail, taking a picture, and confirming with the family before taking the body to the crematory.

Then, obviously, those items should be removed before the body is taken for cremation.

I do not know, of course, exactly what went wrong in your situation. But this doesn’t strike me as a difficult protocol to adhere to for a funeral home.

There is nothing to be done now; I wish I could offer you some advice that would change that.

I wish your family the best, and thank you for writing.

FCA Staff

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