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Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
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Experience:  Litigation Attorney with education focus on estate planning and tax
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If no one claims the body to be buried can a good Samaritan

Customer Question

if no one claims the body to be buried can a good Samaritan claim the body and bury it
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
What state is this in?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This answer is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Most states have adopted relatively specific, though convoluted, laws governing the status, control and disposition of dead bodies of human beings. In Kansas laws K.S.A. 65-904 and 65-1734 cover most situations. For example if a family member or friend claims the body within 72 hours of death per K.S.A. 65-904, then the body is delivered to that person or agent. In the rare case of multiple people trying to control the disposition of the body, K.S.A. 65-1734 specifies the order of priority for the person authorized to control the disposition of the body. Interestingly, a holder of a durable power of attorney for health care decisions has priority over all others, including the spouse or child of the decedent, if that power was specifically granted to the attorney in fact. Vermont may also have such laws governing disposition.
If no person steps forward to claim the body, K.S.A. 65-904 requires the person or persons in charge of the deceased at the time of death to make, “…diligent search for relatives or friends.” If there is no response to the search within 96 hours after the commencement of such search, the body is treated as unclaimed. As an unclaimed body, the county official responsible for dealing with corpses, usually the coroner, assumes control under K.S.A. 65."
And Kansas again has spoken on the issue raised here: " if no next of kin: if no person steps forward to claim the body, K.S.A. 65-904 requires the person or persons in charge of the deceased at the time of death to make, “…diligent search for relatives or friends.” If there is no response to the search within 96 hours after the commencement of such search, the body is treated as unclaimed. As an unclaimed body, the county official responsible for dealing with corpses, usually the coroner, assumes control under K.S.A. 65.
So I guess it would be if you are considered a "friend" or not. and how long the body has been at the morgue.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or require any additional guidance. Please do not forget to positively rate my answer as this is the only way that I am compensated for my work.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Here is the relevant statute for New York:
§ 4213. Cadavers; delivery to relatives or friends
1. In the counties of Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Madison and Cortland, a friend who claims the body of a deceased person for interment or other disposition may be required by the person having lawful possession, charge, custody or control of it to present an affidavit stating (a) that such claimant is a friend; (b) the facts and circumstances upon which the claim that he is such friend is based; and (c), that he will bear the expense of such interment or other lawful disposition. If such claimant shall refuse to make such affidavit the body shall not be delivered to him but he shall forfeit his claim and right to same. The expense of such affidavit, if required, shall be paid by the person requiring the affidavit.
2. If the body of a deceased person is claimed for interment or other lawful disposition by a relative and in the counties of Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Madison and Cortland a relative or friend after delivery or release to, and receipt by a university, college, school or institute, same shall be given up and released to such relative or friend.
Basically you need to present an affidavit stating (a) that such claimant is a friend; (b) the facts and circumstances upon which the claim that he is such friend is based; and (c), that he will bear the expense of such interment or other lawful disposition.
So if you are not a friend the answer is no you can't do this according to New York State law.
Please let me know if you have any further questions and please rate my answer.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
I see that you have viewed my answer. Do you have any further questions? I want to answer all your questions fully in order to earn a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated for my time.