Funeral home, family at odds over bill following memorial service mix-up

CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a tough Mother's Day for the Cox family, visiting their late mother at an unmarked grave in Cynthiana's Battle Grove Cemetery. They cannot put a headstone on the grave until a dispute with the funeral home is resolved.

"The hardest part was of course losing Mom, but it's like it hasn't ended," said Susan Cox. "Because here it's May and we're still going."

When Jennie Cox, 70, died in January, family members said she was supposed to be laid to rest beside her father. But on the day of the funeral, workers were at the wrong gravesite, Cox's daughters said.

Susan Cox said they told that to the representative from the funeral home, Drake Whaley McCarty Funeral Home in Cynthiana, who went on with the burial but later moved Cox's mother's remains. Family members said they got a $700 bill for that, which they claim they should not have to pay - and will not pay - because it is not their fault.

The funeral home has now filed a claim in Fayette District Court against Jennie Cox's estate to get the roughly $700 they say they are owed.

An attorney for the funeral home, Steve Amato, disputed the family's allegations. He said in a statement that "the funeral home acted professionally, respectfully and at all times precisely in accordance with the family's wishes regarding the burial of the decedent, fully disclosing the estimated costs to the family."

Amato said the family was aware of the costs, and the funeral home is not at fault for the location mix-up.

"The funeral home neither dictates nor plays any role in the location of the remains of the decedent," the statement reads. "The burial costs in question were approved by the family on at least two occasions before they were incurred, and as a courtesy, the funeral home then advanced those expenses on behalf of the family to the cemetery."

That is the money Amato says the family refused to pay back. You can read his full statement below.

Cox said they did not get an invoice with that charge, and they did not agree to it.

"It's a family's worst time," she said. "And honestly, to make it this difficult - I don't want that to happen to anybody else."


Full statement from attorney Stephen G. Amato (McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirland, PLLC), representing Drake Whaley McCarty Funeral Home:

Drake Whaley McCarty funeral Home is sorry for the loss of the Cox family's loved one; however, the funeral home acted professionally, respectfully and at all times precisely in accordance with the family's wishes regarding the burial of the decedent, fully disclosing the estimated costs to the family. The funeral home neither dictates nor plays any role in the location of the remains of the decedent. The burial costs in question were approved by the family on at least two occasions before they were incurred, and as a courtesy, the funeral home then advanced those expenses on behalf of the family to the cemetery. Subsequently, the family now simply refuses to reimburse the funeral home in an amount that is less than $700. Out of respect for the family, the funeral home will have no further public comment at this time.



 
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