Funeral and Burial Instructions: Consultation Paper



A person appointed by the court under letters of administration to administer a deceased estate that has no executor. This may be because there is no will, the will does not appoint an executor, or a named executor is unwilling or unable to act.

Administrator hierarchy

The order of priority given to claims to the administration of the estate of the deceased. The hierarchy is governed by the common law in some states (including Victoria) and legislation in others.


Where the deceased has left a will, an executor may be appointed under that will to administer the estate of the deceased.

Executor rule

The executor of an estate has the right to dispose of the deceased person’s body.

Final disposal

This includes burial and cremation, as well as any other lawful means of disposing of a dead body. Final disposal takes place after medical intervention and does not include tissue donation.

Funeral and burial instructions

Instructions regarding the place and method of the final disposal of a dead body, and any associated rituals.

Letters of administration

A grant of letters of administration may be made where there is no will, or where there is a will but no executor is available. It confers upon a court-appointed administrator the authority to administer the estate.

Likely administrator rule

Where there is no executor and no administrator of a deceased estate, the person most likely to be appointed the administrator of the deceased estate has the right to dispose of the deceased person’s body.