Despite the fact that death completes the circle of life, people should be treated with dignity, and their rights should be protected after they have passed from this physical realm.


There are laws in place to protect your deceased body and regulate how it is disposed of as part of your right to a dignified burial. Both public and private interests are protected by these laws, including those pertaining to health and the environment.


Upon your death, it is up to your family to decide how your body will be taken care of. Your loved ones have a difficult choice to make when it comes to whether you should be buried or cremated.

Who Has the Right to a Deceased Body?

Funeral directors are not permitted to make decisions regarding whether to arrange a cremation or burial if there are disagreements between family members.


An executor named in your will would have the legal authority to make these decisions if your family cannot agree on where to bury you or whether you will be buried or cremated.


It is usually the closest family member who will have decision-making power if you have no will, a valid will, or no executor. The way your family chooses to bury you will also be influenced by your religious and cultural beliefs.


Obtaining a Death Certificate in South Africa

You must apply for a Death Certificate at a Department of Home Affairs office. In case you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Doc Assist. If you require assistance in obtaining an unabridged death certificate in South Africa or abroad, Doc Assist can assist. 


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