Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–231.17. Final disposition of dead body or fetus.

(a) The funeral director who first assumes custody of a dead body shall obtain the following before disposing of the body:

(1) An authorization for final disposition of the body from the individual with rights to control the final disposition pursuant to § 3-413;

(2) A permit from the Registrar authorizing final disposition;

(3) A filed death certificate on security paper; and

(4) If final disposition is to be by cremation, resomation, or burial at sea, additional authorization from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in a format to be prescribed by the Registrar.

(b) Before final disposition of a dead fetus, regardless of the duration of pregnancy, the funeral director, the individual in charge of the institution, or other individual responsible for final disposition of the fetus, shall obtain authorization from the individual with rights to control the final disposition pursuant to § 3-413.

(c) A dead body may be removed from the place of death for the purpose of preparation for final disposition under the following conditions:

(1) Upon the consent of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner;

(2) In the case of an expected death at a decedent's place of residence, at the time of death upon the consent of a treating physician or a registered nurse working in general collaboration with the treating physician who signs the pronouncement of death section of the report of death; or

(3) In the case of an unexpected death at a decedent's place of residence, at the time of death upon the consent of the individual signing the pronouncement of death section on the report of death.

(d) An authorization for final disposition of a dead body or fetus brought into the District, issued by another state and accompanying the dead body or fetus, shall constitute sufficient authority for final disposition in the District.

(e) An individual in charge of a place for interment or other disposition of dead bodies shall neither inter nor allow interment or other disposition of a dead body or fetus unless it is accompanied by an authorization for final disposition.

(f) Each individual in charge of a place of final disposition shall include the date and place of disposition in the permit for final disposition and shall sign and return the permit to the funeral director in a manner prescribed by the Registrar within 10 days after the date of disposition. When there is no individual in charge of the place of final disposition, the funeral director shall complete the authorization.

(g) Authorization for disinterment and re-interment shall be required before human remains are disinterred. The authorization shall be issued by the Registrar to a licensed funeral director and shall include a sworn statement under penalty of perjury stating the grounds for disinterment in a format prescribed by the Registrar. If disinterment is deemed to be a public health threat, the Director of the Department shall be notified prior to the authorization.

(h) A funeral director or his or her designee shall obtain a letter of non-contagious disease certified by the Registrar when transporting a body outside of the United States.


(Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 117, 65 DCR 9324.)