Law Reform: Funeral and Burial Instructions

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has examined the legal status of funeral and burial instructions of a deceased person. The Commission’s report – and video – explain what is important, what the law says (in each state and other jurisdictions) and what changes might improve matters. This is of extreme importance in the case of the indigenous peoples, who have a need for burial “on country”. A Yorta Yorta example is narrated in the video.


 

Funeral and Burial Instructions

What will happen to your body when you die? Have you written instructions for your funeral and burial? Or have you been involved in a family dispute about the funeral of a loved one?

The Commission has completed an inquiry into funeral and burial instructions in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic), which empowers the Commission to initiate inquiries into legal issues of general community concern, provided they are limited in size and scope.

The report was released on 15 December 2016. Download it from the link below.

Watch the video on the issue of funeral and burial instructions which explains why funeral and burial instructions are important, what the law says and how the law could change. (5 min 15 sec).

 

 

Currently the law gives the executor or likely administrator of a deceased person’s estate the right to decide what happens to a deceased person’s body, regardless of the deceased person’s wishes. The Commission is considering the extent to which a deceased person’s wishes about their funeral, burial or cremation should be legally binding.

The law emerged in 19th-century England. At that time, cremation was widely thought to be illegal and the law presumed that everyone wished to have a Christian burial. This environment no longer exists in either the UK, nor Australia. Australia is a multicultural, multi-faith country which has conducted immigration programs since before World War II. There are different burial requirements for different religions and for the deceased of no faith. In the Goulburn Valley, there has been migration and settlement before WWII and post war migration right up to the present day. Shepparton is also a place of secondary migration in the case of the Sikh and Afghani communities.

Where estates are concerned, matters may be complex and challenging and often have to go to higher courts. However, a body must be buried or interred in some manner with due process, and the Victorian Law Reform Commission is making recommendations for lower courts to hear and issue burial instructions. The recommendations extend to inclusion of the Magistrates Court. The report is comprehensive and thorough-going in these matters, particularly with regard to the needs of indigenous peoples.

Funeral and Burial Instructions: Report (pdf)

This report concludes a community law reform project considering whether Victorians should be permitted to leave funeral and burial instructions that…
Read more here

Funeral and Burial Instructions: Report (html)

This report concludes a community law reform project considering whether Victorians should be permitted to leave funeral and burial instructions that…
Read more here

 

Source

 

 

393 total views, 2 views today

394 Total Views 1 Views Today