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Common Questions

What legal issues do I need to address when a family member dies?

Last reviewed in March 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

Dealing with the death of a family member is the start of one of the most difficult and challenging times in our lives. There are a number of legal issues to attend to, including registering the death with the BC Vital Statistics Agency, delivering copies of the death certificate to notify institutions that handled your family member's affairs, and possibly issues relating to organ and tissue donations.

Good starting points include:

  • A Death in Your Family, from People's Law School, explains the practical and legal steps that loved ones face when someone dies.
  • Dealing with a Death, from People's Law School, has practical steps to help you and your family deal with a death of a loved one.
  • Cemetery and Funeral Service, from Consumer Protection BC, has answers to questions about funeral providers and cemetery arrangements.
  • Death Registration & Certificates, from the BC Vital Statistics Agency, has information about death registration, death certificates, and death records. For example, the information about the death registration explains the role of the medical practitioner or coroner and of the funeral director in obtaining the appropriate certificates.
  • BC Employment and Assistance: Ministry Assistance with Funeral Costs , outlines what funeral costs can be covered by the Ministry if there are no other resources available. It describes who is eligible to apply and how to make the arrangements.

Need more help?

  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

death, death certificate, funeral arrangements, death in the family, death duties, funeral costs