Common Questions

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

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.
  • 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?

  • Wills & Estates Q&A, from People's Law School, is a resource where volunteer legal professionals provide answers to questions from the public relating to wills and estates, and dealing with a death. If you still can't find the answer, they give an option to submit your own question; every effort is made to provide an initial response within 2 business days and a fuller response within 2 weeks. 
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, offers an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes with a lawyer for $25.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed November 2017
death, death certificate, funeral arrangements, death in the family, death duties, funeral costs