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National Cemetery Administration

Disinterments

Disinterments from national cemeteries will be approved only when all living immediate family members of the decedent, to include the person who initiated the interment (whether or not he or she is a member of the immediate family), give their written consent, or when a court order or state instrumentality of competent jurisdiction directs the disinterment. "Immediate family members" are defined as surviving spouse, even if remarried, all adult children of the decedent, appointed guardians (s) of minor children, the appointed guardian of the surviving spouse or of the adult child(ren) of the decedent. In the absence of a surviving spouse and children, the decedent's parents will be considered "immediate family members."

All requests for authority to disinter remains will be submitted on VA Form 40-4970, Request for Disinterment, and will include the following information:
(a) A full statement of reasons for the proposed disinterment.
(b) Notarized statements by all eligible living immediate family members of the decedent, to include the person who initiated the interment (whether or not he or she is a member of the immediate family), that they consent to the proposed disinterment.
(c.) A notarized statement, by the person requesting the disinterment that those who supplied affidavits comprise all the living immediate family members of the deceased.

In lieu of the documents required in paragraph (2) above, an order of a court of competent Jurisdiction will be considered. The VA or officials of the cemetery should not be made a party to the court action since this is a matter among the family members involved.

The VA Form 40-4970, Request for Disinterment, when properly completed, notarized and affixed with a Notary Public's official seal, constitutes a valid affidavit for requesting a disinterment. The form will be provided to those having interest in a disinterment upon request. The cemetery staff will provide guidance and assistance in its completion.