Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 7. DEAD BODIES [7000 - 8030]

  ( Division 7 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60. )


  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60. )

CHAPTER 4. Disposal of Unclaimed Dead [7200 - 7208]
  ( Chapter 4 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60. )


Every head of a public institution, city or county undertaker, or state, county, or city officer having charge or control of remains to be interred at public expense shall use due diligence to notify the relatives of the decedent. In the absence of any known relative of the decedent desiring to direct the disposition of the remains in a manner other than provided in this chapter, and upon written request of the state department that these notices are required for a definite period specified in the request, that officer shall notify the state department immediately after the lapse of twenty-four hours after death, stating, whenever possible, the name, age, sex, and cause of death of the decedent.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 436, Sec. 21. Effective January 1, 2002.)


The person in charge of a public institution in which the decedent was an inmate shall transmit upon request, to the state department or to any person designated by it, a brief medical history of the unclaimed dead for purpose of identification and permanent record, which records shall be open to inspection by any State or county official or prosecuting attorney.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


The unclaimed dead retained by the State department for scientific or educational purposes shall be embalmed and disposed of in accordance with the instructions of the State department. Such unclaimed dead shall be held for a period of thirty days by those to whom they may have been assigned for scientific or educational purposes, subject to claim and identification by any authenticated relative of the decedent for purpose of interment or other disposition in accordance with the directions of such relative.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


The bodies of the unclaimed dead retained by the State department shall be used solely for the purpose of instruction and study in the promotion of medical, chiropractic, and embalming education and science within the State.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


All persons receiving unclaimed dead for educational purposes shall bear all reasonable expense incurred in the preservation and transportation of the dead and shall keep a permanent record of bodies received, giving the identification number, the name, age, sex, nationality, and race, if possible, together with the place of last residence of the decedent and the source and disposition, with dates, of the body.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


It is unlawful for any person, unless specifically authorized by law, to hold a post mortem examination of any unclaimed dead without the express permission of the State department.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


Any person authorized by law to perform post mortem examinations shall permit, with the consent of relatives, or in the absence of such relatives, with the consent of the State department, any representative of the anatomical or pathological departments of an incorporated medical, chiropractic, or osteopathic school or college to obtain at the time of the necropsy, such material in a recent state as may be needed for scientific purposes, if the material is not required for the legal purposes of the State.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


Whenever, through the failure of any person to notify the State department, or promptly to deliver the body of a deceased indigent as required by the State department, such body becomes unfit for scientific or educational purposes, the State department shall so certify and the remains shall be interred at the expense of those guilty of such noncompliance.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)


Every person who unlawfully disposes, uses, or sells the body of an unclaimed dead person, or who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(Enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60.)

HSCHealth and Safety Code - HSC