Losing someone we love is one of the hardest things we can experience in life. During this difficult time, it is important to know about the legal obligations when it comes to burying a person who died of natural causes.
According to Fox 7 in Austin, Texas, a mother in Texas is facing criminal charges after her disabled teen son died and she chose to bury him without reporting his death to authorities in Texas. While the details of this story may make it an outlier, it can still serve as a reminder that many people are unaware of the laws surrounding burial, and it's important for people who must bury a loved one to have all the information they need so they can avoid potential legal issues.
In this blog post, we will answer the question of whether it is illegal to bury a person who died of natural causes without reporting it to authorities in California.
Is It Against the Law to Bury a Person Who Died of Natural Causes without Reporting It to Authorities in California?
Yes, it is illegal in California to bury a person who died of natural causes without reporting it to authorities. California law requires any death that occurs outside a hospital or healthcare facility to be reported to the local coroner or medical examiner within 24 hours. The primary purpose of this law is to ensure that the cause of death is accurately determined, especially if foul play or criminal activity is suspected.
What You Need to Know About Burying a Person Who Died of Natural Causes in California
California law also requires you to obtain a death certificate before burying a person who died of natural causes. This document serves as legal proof of death and is needed for various legal and administrative purposes. Without a death certificate, it can be difficult to file for life insurance claims or inheritance rights. In addition, a death certificate is also needed to fulfill the legal requirements for burial or cremation.
What Are the Steps for Reporting a Person’s Death in California?
If a person dies at home or in another non-medical setting, you will need to contact your local coroner or medical examiner's office to inform them of the death. The coroner or medical examiner will ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the death to determine if further investigation is needed.
If the death was natural, the next step is to obtain a death certificate. You can do this by contacting the county clerk's office where the death occurred to obtain the necessary paperwork and to have the death certificate issued.
It is important to note that failure to comply with California burial laws can result in legal consequences. Fines and even imprisonment are possible if a person is found to have illegally buried a body. Additionally, any legal documents that were obtained without properly reporting the death or without a death certificate may be invalidated.
Facing criminal charges for burying a person who died of natural causes without reporting it to authorities in California? Give Appel & Morse at (805) 467-6060 or get in touch with us online today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fresno.