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Funeral Arrangements - What Will Happen?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by John Lambert, 6 May 2015.

  1. John Lambert

    John Lambert Member

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    I have a sister who passed away in another state. My niece has been made her next of kin. My understanding is my sister is still in a morgue. My niece will not reveal to any members of the family when or if there is going to be a funeral. As my niece may not have funds for a funeral the family is concerned about what will happen to my sister.
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Did your sister have a will?
     
  3. John Lambert

    John Lambert Member

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    Not that I am aware of.
     
  4. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi John,

    Is your nice under 18 years old? If your sister did not have a will, then the person appointed as "personal representative" by the court will be in charge of funeral matters and distribution of your sister's estate. Who can apply as a "personal representative" depends on legislative intestacy rules, which differs between states. Which state is your sister from/passed away in? Family members qualify as personal representatives, but there is a hierarchy of entitlement. Did your sister leave a spouse or was she in a de facto partnership? If not, does she leave any children over the age of 21 or 18?
     
  5. John Lambert

    John Lambert Member

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    Sister was in Western Australia, did not have a spouse or de facto. Her daughter is over 21. We do not want to interfere but just want to know what funeral arrangements if any have been made and when the funeral would be. Does she have to make arrangements in a certain timeline. Surely she can not be left in a morgue waiting for my niece to make arrangements for weeks or months.
     
  6. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi John,

    It's probably best to speak with your niece. Surely, she would want what is best for her mother and would be willing to accept financial and emotional help from other family members. The legal route is cold, impersonal and could damage family ties. As for how long to leave a body at the morgue, can you call them up and ask how long a body usually remains there for?

    As for funeral arrangements, you could try calling up a funeral parlour and enquiring as to who can arrange for a deceased person. A personal representative usually arranges the funeral, but this may not always have to be the case. A funeral parlour should be able to help you out on this question.

    A personal representative (appointed by court), and nobody else, can administer the deceased's estate, though. A child over 21 will have priority, however, any eligible person (parents, sibling) can apply to court to be a personal representative, but court will need to "pass over the person" with priority (your niece). However, this may not be necessary for funeral arrangements.
     

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