Funeral and Burial Instructions: Terms of Reference

The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s community law reform project into Funeral and Burial Instructions was initiated under the following terms of reference.

[Matter initiated by the Commission pursuant to section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic) on 25 June 2015.]

At common law, the executor or, where there is no executor, the person with the highest claim to administer a deceased person’s estate, has the right to arrange for the final disposal of the deceased person’s body. The executor or likely administrator’s wishes regarding the final disposal are given primacy over the wishes of all others, including the deceased.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission will consider whether the law should be amended to enable a person to leave binding instructions about the method and place of the final disposal of their body, and any associated rituals. These instructions are known as funeral and burial instructions. ;

In conducting this review, the Commission will have regard to:

  • whether legislation recognising funeral and burial instructions is desirable
  • the different cultural and spiritual beliefs of Victorians relating to the final disposal of bodies
  • recent legal developments in domestic and international common law jurisdictions.
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