A man is surprised to speak with his son on the phone, after the son had been declared dead.

An elderly California man learned that his son was dead, arranged for a $20,000 funeral but then spoke to his son on the phone, as the Daily Mail reports in “Outrage as father is told his homeless son is dead and buries him in $20k funeral – only to be told 11 days later that it was a mistake by the coroner and that his son is very much ALIVE!.”

Frank Kerrigan received a phone call from the Orange County coroner’s office to inform him that his son had passed away. Kerrigan asked the coroner if he could see his son’s body and personally identify him, but he was told that was unnecessary since the coroner had confirmed the deceased’s identity using fingerprints.

Kerrigan arranged a funeral for his son and spent $20,000.

Other family members flew in from out of state to attend the funeral. However, 11 days later, Kerrigan received a phone call from a family friend who informed him that not only was his son not dead, he was standing right there.

Kerrigan is suing the coroner’s office for damages that he suffered due to the false identification.

Cases of authorities mistakenly identifying a deceased person do not happen all that often. However, they do happen. Because they do, it is important that someone who knew the deceased person view the body and confirm the identity.

Families should insist on it.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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