Legal requirements – the paperwork!
Intentions in writing – Next of Kin
The first step in making an application for an exhumation requires the Next of Kin to provide a “letter of intention” stating the reason for wanting to exhume. We began our website with some of the reason people seek to exhume a loved one which are all acceptable, sound and proper reasons. Sometimes though, a person’s grief can be unhealthy and lead us to make decisions that are unhelpful to our lives and wellbeing. Disturbing someone you love from their place of burial, whether they have been there for a long or short period of time, is not something that should be considered lightly. It is an extremely important decision that requires long and considered thought and should be arrived at without frivolous intentions. The authorities giving such approvals have a duty of care to you in considering and understanding the reasoning for the exhumation.
Another important component of the “letter of intention” is to state what is going to happen to the remains once they are exhumed. Are they to be cremated, re-buried locally, or repatriated interstate or overseas? The intended new burial ground must be stated in the letter.
Intentions in writing – Funeral Director
Just as written communication from the family is important, the Funeral Director must also provide a declaration in writing stating they have sufficient understanding of the process, the professional standards and qualifications, equipment, training and insurances to carry the task to completion. This document also must agree with the outcome of the exhumation as stated in the letter from the Next of Kin.
Qualifications and Insurances and Risk Assessment Management Plan
Because public health and safety is involved, the practical parts of the process at the exhumation site must conform to work safety and public health requirements. The Funeral Director carrying out this work must have confined space training qualifications to work in and around trenches and confined spaces.
These documents must be provided with the application to perform the exhumation. Exhumations Australia possess the current qualifications required under the law, and more importantly we want our staff that are assisting you as a family to be safe at all times.
It is expected also as part of the application that the funeral director has public liability and indemnity insurance because a cemetery involved in an Exhumation has cemetery staff and Exhumations Australia staff working in conjunction Exhumations Australia will provide these certificates of currency as part of the application.
Exhumations Australia will also provide a comprehensive risk assessment plan so there is an overriding safety management plan on the day in case of emergency to ensure the safety of all parties involved in the process.
Certified Death Certificate
Most families would have a certified copy of the death certificate of the person being exhumed as a matter of course. A death certificate must be provided as part of the application process. The death certificate is required to be given as part of the application process, to validate the relationship of the deceased to the person making the application. We can assist you in applying for this if necessary or if the original is available it may be used.