Death: Disposal of the Body

At times there is a dispute between relatives as to how to dispose of the deceased’s body. The Courts do have jurisdiction to determine proper disposal. As there is no property in the dead body, any instructions regarding its disposal included in the Will are unenforceable however the wishes of the testator could be described as highly influential and it is usually the Executor of the Will who organises the funeral and normally follows the wishes of the deceased as expressed in the Will.

When the testator dies without an Executor being appointed there would understandably be an inappropriate delay if the Court were to appoint an Administrator. In this case the duty of disposal generally falls to the next of kin.

If a person dies in a situation where there is no competent person willing to bury the body, the household where the death occurs has the responsibility of burying the body.

A Western Australian Court had to decide between separated parents, who would bury their son. With equal entitlements, the Judge decided on the practicalities of the burial without reasonable delay.

If you have any questions you would like answered either confidentially or via this medium, please email us at

This is intended for general information and does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Formal legal advice should be sought.

On May 27th, 2010, posted in: Know the Law by
Comments are closed.