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23-06-03 (3) Duty of burial

Date of Meeting: May 10, 2016

1. The duty of burying the body of a deceased individual devolves upon the surviving husband or wife if the deceased was married or, if the deceased was not married but left kindred, upon one or more individuals in the same degree, of adult age, nearest of kin to the deceased and possessed of sufficient means to defray the necessary expenses.

2. If the individual who has the duty of burial does not bury the body within the time required by this chapter, the individual next specified shall bury the body.

3. If the deceased is not survived by an individual described by subsection 1 and did not leave sufficient means to defray funeral expenses, including the cost of a casket, the county social service board of the county in which the deceased had residence for county general assistance purposes or, if residence cannot be established, the county social service board of the county in which the death occurs shall employ some person to arrange for and supervise the burial or cremation. If the deceased was a resident or inmate of a public institution, the county in which the deceased was a resident for county general assistance purposes immediately before entering the institution shall employ a person to arrange for and supervise the burial or cremation. Each board of county commissioners may negotiate with the interested funeral directors or funeral homes regarding cremation expenses and burial expenses but the total charges for burial services, including transportation of the deceased to the place of burial, the grave box or vault, grave space, and grave opening and closing expenses, may not be less than one thousand five hundred dollars. The county social services board may provide for the use of a military casket or urn, if the deceased was a veteran as defined in section 37-01-40, unless the additional cost exceeds the negotiated expenses of this section or a surviving spouse or the nearest of kin of the deceased elects a nonmilitary casket. The county social service board shall pay the charge for funeral expenses as negotiated by the board of county commissioners, less any amount left by the deceased to defray the expenses.