Funeral and Burial Instructions

What will happen to your body when you die? Have you written instructions for your funeral and burial? Or have you been involved in a family dispute about the funeral of a loved one?

The Commission has completed an inquiry into funeral and burial instructions in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic), which empowers the Commission to initiate inquiries into legal issues of general community concern, provided they are limited in size and scope.

The report was released on 15 December 2016. Download it from the link below.

Watch our video on the issue of funeral and burial instructions which explains why funeral and burial instructions are important, what the law says and how the law could change. (5 min 15 sec). 

Currently the law gives the executor or likely administrator of a deceased person’s estate the right to decide what happens to a deceased person’s body, regardless of the deceased person’s wishes. The Commission is considering the extent to which a deceased person’s wishes about their funeral, burial or cremation should be legally binding.

The law emerged in 19th-century England. At that time, cremation was widely thought to be illegal and the law presumed that everyone wished to have a Christian burial.

The Commission is concerned that the law may no longer accord with community values. Today’s Victorians, with their diverse cultural practices, complex family arrangements and support for individual choice, may want greater recognition of their wishes concerning their funeral, burial or cremation.

Follow the links below to download the report and other documents relating to the funeral and burial instructions project.

Funeral and Burial Instructions: Report (pdf)

This report concludes a community law reform project considering whether Victorians should be permitted to leave funeral and burial instructions that...

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Funeral and Burial Instructions: Report (html)

This report concludes a community law reform project considering whether Victorians should be permitted to leave funeral and burial instructions that...

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Funeral and Burial Instructions: Submissions received

The Commission received the following submissions in response to the consultation paper about funeral and burial instructions. See the links below to...

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Funeral and Burial Instructions: Consultation Paper (pdf)

This consultation paper was published on 9 November 2015. Download the consultation paper from the link below. Alternatively, you can view an html...

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Funeral and Burial Instructions: Consultation Paper (html)

This consultation paper was published on 9 November 2015.  Navigate the consultation paper using the headings on the right.  Alternatively, you can...

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Funeral and Burial Instructions: 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...

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