Code Section Group

Government Code - GOV


  ( Title 3 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424. )

DIVISION 2. OFFICERS [24000 - 28085]

  ( Division 2 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424. )

PART 3. OTHER OFFICERS [26500 - 27773]

  ( Part 3 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424. )

CHAPTER 10. Coroner [27460 - 27530]

  ( Chapter 10 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424. )

ARTICLE 1. Duties Generally [27460 - 27473]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424. )


If an inquest is held by the coroner and no other person takes charge of the body of the deceased, he shall cause it to be interred decently.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424.)


In order to inter decently the body of the deceased, the coroner may apply to a judge of the superior court of his county for an order permitting him to: (a) sell summarily any personal property belonging to the deceased, (b) withdraw any money that the deceased has on deposit with any bank, and (c) collect any indebtedness or claim that is owing or due the deceased.

If upon the application it appears to the court by competent evidence that the total value of the estate of the deceased is less than seventy-five dollars ($75), the judge shall make an order granting the application, and there shall be no administration upon the estate of the deceased unless additional estate is found or discovered. No notice of the application need be given and no fee shall be charged by the clerk of the court or coroner for the filing of the application or for any duty or service connected therewith. Upon the sale of the personal property of the deceased or the collection of any money, claim, or indebtedness by the coroner, he shall use the money for expenses of the funeral of the deceased.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424.)


The coroner shall file with the clerk of the court a statement showing the property of the deceased that came into his hands, the amount received from the sale of any personal property, and the disposition of the property of the deceased. He shall also file with the clerk vouchers showing what disposition was made of the property. If there is not sufficient property belonging to the estate of the deceased to pay the necessary expenses of the burial, the expenses are a legal charge against the county.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424.)


The coroner shall keep an official register, labeled “Coroner’s Register,” with pages numbered, indexed and bound, in which he shall enter:

(a) The name and any aliases of the deceased, when known, including such description as may be sufficient for identification and which may, in his discretion, include fingerprint records.

(b) A narrative summary of the circumstances leading to and surrounding the death, together with names and addresses of any witnesses to such events.

(c) The property taken from the person or premises of the deceased by the coroner or by any other law enforcement agency or officer.

(d) The disposition of any property or moneys so taken.

(e) The cause of death, when known, with reference or direction to the detailed medical reports upon which decision as to cause of death has been based.

(f) Information as to disposition of the remains.

(g) Persons notified of the death, together with a notation of any unsuccessful attempts at notification.

(Amended by Stats. 1959, Ch. 1760.)


In lieu of the “coroner’s register,” the coroner may keep an official file for each deceased person containing all of the information required by Section 27463. At any time after the completion of the coroner’s investigation, and the closing of the particular case involved, the coroner may photograph or microphotograph the contents of the file in accordance with the provisions of Section 26205, and, when the photographs or microphotographs are placed in conveniently accessible files and provision is made for preserving, examining, and using the same, the original file may be destroyed.

(Amended by Stats. 1975, Ch. 857.)


Whenever the death of any person shall have been referred to the coroner for investigation, there shall be delivered to the coroner any note, letter or other document apparently written by the deceased which may tend to indicate an intention by the writer to take the writer’s life, including directions for disposition of property or disposal of remains. A facsimile copy thereof shall be placed in the coroner’s records, and, if an inquest be held, a true copy shall be read into the record and transcribed into the notes of the official stenographer. Upon completion of legal proceedings arising from such death, the original instrument shall be delivered by the coroner to the addressee or to the legal representative of the estate of the decedent; provided, however, that if the instrument purports to be testamentary in nature, it shall be filed with the clerk of the court as provided by law.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 784, Sec. 185. Effective January 1, 2003.)


Within 90 days after an inquest upon a dead body the coroner shall deliver to the legal representatives of the deceased any money or other property found upon the body.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 77, Sec. 1.)


If, within 90 days after the inquest, no legal representative makes a demand upon the coroner for the money or property found upon the body of the decedent, the coroner shall deliver to the treasurer any money, and the proceeds of the sale of any property found upon the body. At the same time, the coroner shall deliver an affidavit to the treasurer showing:

(a) The amount of money belonging to the estate of the deceased person which has come into his possession since the coroner’s last statement.

(b) The disposition made of any property.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 77, Sec. 2.)


If the coroner fails to deliver to the treasurer within 120 days after any inquest upon a dead body all money and proceeds from the sale of property found upon the body, unless claimed in the meantime by the public administrator or other legal representative of the decedent, the district attorney shall proceed against the coroner to recover the money or proceeds by civil action in the name of the county.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 77, Sec. 3.)


If within 90 days after an inquest upon a dead body no legal representative of the decedent demands from the coroner the property found upon the person of the decedent, the coroner shall sell the property at public auction upon reasonable public notice, and immediately thereafter deliver the proceeds of the sale to the treasurer, who shall place them to the credit of the county.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 77, Sec. 4.)


In any action or proceeding in which the sheriff is a party, the coroner shall discharge the duties of sheriff.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424.)


If no private ambulance service other than that operated by a coroner is available, in addition to his salary and other fees allowed by law the coroner may be reimbursed for ambulance services rendered in conveying any person to the county hospital, where the person and the persons responsible for his support are unable to pay for the service.

(Added by Stats. 1947, Ch. 424.)


Any county with a population under 250,000 that has elected to implement a trauma care system plan pursuant to Section 1797.257 of the Health and Safety Code may charge any actual costs incurred in the performance of an autopsy upon a person who was a resident of another county to the county of origin of that person. Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the jurisdiction of the county coroner or medical examiner in the county performing the autopsy over any inquiry or investigation into the cause of death of that person.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 412, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1993.)


(a) Whenever the coroner takes custody of a dead body pursuant to law, he or she shall make a reasonable attempt to locate the family. After a reasonable attempt, the coroner may embalm the body or authorize the embalming by a mortician for purposes of preserving the remains for evidence, to prevent microbial and contagious disease hazards, or for investigative functions. If the embalming has been requested by the family or by a person authorized to take charge of the body prior to such embalming, and such family or person has agreed to accept the expense, the coroner may charge and collect up to one hundred thirty-five dollars ($135). Any family, however, which has not been located within 24 hours of the custody by the coroner of the body, shall not be charged more than sixty-five dollars ($65).

This subdivision shall only apply to counties that own and maintain a central morgue with a paid, full-time staff that performs embalming.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (a), whenever the coroner takes custody of a dead body pursuant to law, he or she may embalm the body, and charge and collect up to one hundred thirty-five dollars ($135) from the person entitled to its custody, except when the body is that of a child not more than 14 years of age or a person for whose burial there is available less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150), in which cases the expense of embalming is a county charge. In any county where the coroner is paid a salary, the fee shall be paid into the county treasury, except that the board of supervisors may order that the fee be paid to the coroner if the coroner is a funeral director in the county.

(c) The board of supervisors shall by ordinance establish the fee to be charged pursuant to this section.

(d) The board of supervisors may increase the amount of the fees specified in subdivisions (a) and (b) pursuant to Chapter 12.5 (commencing with Section 54985) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 182, Sec. 1.)


If authorized by the county board of supervisors by ordinance, the coroner, whenever he or she takes custody of a dead body pursuant to law, may charge and collect from the person entitled to control the disposition of the remains, as specified in Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code, the actual expense incurred by the coroner in removing the body from the place of death and keeping the body until its release to the person responsible for its interment. The charge shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100), shall not be imposed upon a person who claims and proves to be indigent, or in cases in which the body is that of a child not more than 14 years of age or in cases in which the coroner ascribes the death to the criminal act of another unless the coroner has reasonable grounds to believe that the deceased was involved in any criminal activity which contributed to his or her own death. The charge shall not include expenses of keeping the body during the time necessary for the coroner to perform his or her duties in connection with it. The charge, if not paid, may be considered a part of the funeral expenses and paid as a preferred charge against the estate of the decedent.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 61, Sec. 1.)


In coroners’ cases, interpreters’ and translators’ fees or other compensation shall be paid from the county treasury upon warrants drawn by the county auditor, when so ordered by the coroner.

(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 212, Sec. 6. (AB 2767) Effective January 1, 2011.)

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