Beach, Cruz-Perez Bill to Clarify Who is Responsible to Arrange Funerals Passes Senate

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

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

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.

“Accepting the responsibility to plan a funeral can be emotionally and financially stressful,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “This legislation provides a defined path for when people are reluctant to take responsibility. It allows individuals to be laid to rest in a timely manner even if there are complications.”

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 the Senate by a vote of 38-0.