Who Has The Final Say Over Your Dead Body?
It’s not uncommon working in a charitable funeral service to be faced with a deceased person with no next of kin. Alternatively they may have a surrogate next of kin, someone who steps in to fill the role a family member may normally have taken; a friend, a fellow border, a healthcare worker.
Occasionally the dearly departed may have expressed a wish in regards to their final journey from this mortal coil; cremation versus burial or service versus no service.
But what happens when the person charged with making the final decision, for whatever reason (religious, cultural or monetary) decides to go against their final wishes and choose a contrary path?
As a largely unregulated industry, the law in Victoria currently states that the deceased does not have the final say in regards to their departure, even if clearly stated. Unfortunately in many cases this has led to enormous conflict and distress for friends and family during what is already a difficult time.
The Victorian Law Commission is presently reviewing options for how the law could be improved.
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