Legal Requirements

In British Columbia, a family member can make all arrangements and decisions surrounding the after death care of their loved one.  You can fill out and file the necessary documents and transport the body home from the hospital, to the cemetery or crematorium.

Traditional coffins are not required by law for burial.  You can make or buy your own casket or cloth shroud.  You can also purchase a cardboard cremation casket that can be decorated by family and friends as part of a meaningful ritual that pays tribute to the deceased.

The legal authority to control the disposition of the body of the deceased person cannot be changed, and is in the following order of priority:

a) the personal representative named in the will of the deceased (ie the executor of the estate)

b) the spouse (including same sex partnerships) of the deceased, if living with the deceased at the time of death, or a person who was living with the deceased as husband or wife for a continuous period of not less than two years

c) an adult child

d) a parent

e) an adult brother or sister

f) an adult nephew or niece

g) an adult next-of-kin determined by the Estate Administration Act

Under c) to g), the order of priority is from oldest to youngest. If a person is unavailable or unwilling to give instructions, the right passes to the next available qualified person.