Taylor Armstrong is a cast member on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Her husband was Russell Armstrong. The two were going through a divorce, and Russell Armstrong was apparently unhappy with how the television show was going to portray him, reports Forbes. So he killed himself.
In the wake of Russell Armstrong's suicide, Taylor Armstrong and her deceased husband's family fought over his funeral rights. Taylor Armstrong allegedly did not tell Russell's parents or sister her plans for Russell's burial -- including the time and location of the funeral. The fight may have been due to the fact that Taylor wanted her husband buried in Los Angeles, while his family wanted him back in Texas.
However, the two sides reportedly worked things out. Russell will be cremated and a portion of his remains will be buried in California, while another portion will be buried in Texas, reports Forbes. There will be two separate funeral services.
While Russell Armstrong's funeral fight was resolved, those doing estate planning in New York may want to plan better to avoid such an ugly fight.
Generally, the disposition of someone's remains is governed by statute. The person designated in someone's will as overseeing the funeral is given priority to controlling the funeral. But in the absence of such a designee, the statute provides a priority list of those who have control. The person with first priority would be the surviving spouse.
Normally, giving funeral rights to the surviving spouse would not be an issue. However, Taylor Armstrong and Russell Armstrong were going through a divorce, and Russell's family may not have wanted Taylor to have a role in his funeral. But in the absence of a designee, the family of the deceased may not have any say in the matter.
- Find a New York Estate Planning Attorney (FindLaw)
- Real Housewives Star Russell Armstrong to Receive Two Funeral Services (Reuters)
- Estate Planning 101 (FindLaw)
- Why Estate Planning is Important? Top 5 Reasons to Estate Plan (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)