Beach, Cruz-Perez Bill to Clarify Who is Responsible to Arrange Funerals Clears Committee

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Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez, which would clarify who controls a funeral and disposition of human remains, cleared the Senate Commerce Committee today.

“There are practical reasons funerals need to happen in a timely manner,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “This will help practitioners in the field navigate situations when relatives are unresponsive to their requests to arrange a funeral for a loved one.”

The bill, S-1753, clarifies the procedure for contacting individuals to arrange the funeral, when no party is named in the will or the individual named in the will is unable or unwilling to attend to these responsibilities.

“Some people are reluctant to accept responsibility to plan a funeral because of the financial stress it presents,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “It is important that there be a defined path for when this occurs, so individuals can reach their final resting place in proper time.”

Under the bill, if the first relative contacted to arrange the funeral does not respond within 72 hours it would fall to the next in line, as defined by current law.

Certain incidences outlined in the bill, such as a divorce or a restraining order, would disqualify an individual from handling the funeral.

The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.