Navigate Up
Medical Examiner-Coroner
Menu +

Legal Statutes Relating to MEC Operations

Published on: 6/19/2014 3:32 PM
Print
(a) No provider of health care, health care service plan, or contractor shall disclose medical information regarding a patient of the provider of health care or an enrollee or subscriber of a health care service plan without first obtaining an authorization, except as provided in subdivision (b) or (c).
 
(b) A provider of health care, a health care service plan, or a contractor shall disclose medical information if the disclosure is compelled by any of the following:
 
(1) By a court pursuant to an order of that court.
 
(2) By a board, commission, or administrative agency for purposes of adjudication pursuant to its lawful authority.
 
(3) By a party to a proceeding before a court or administrative agency pursuant to a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, notice to appear served pursuant to Section 1987 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or any provision authorizing discovery in a proceeding before a court or administrative agency.
 
(4) By a board, commission, or administrative agency pursuant to an investigative subpoena issued under Article 2 (commencing with Section 11180) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
 
(5) By an arbitrator or arbitration panel, when arbitration is lawfully requested by either party, pursuant to a subpoena duces tecum issued under Section 1282.6 of the Code of Civil Procedure, or another provision authorizing discovery in a proceeding before an arbitrator or arbitration panel.
 
(6) By a search warrant lawfully issued to a governmental law enforcement agency.
 
(7) By the patient or the patient's representative pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 123100) of Part 1 of Division 106 of the Health and Safety Code.
 
(8) By a coroner, when requested in the course of an investigation by the coroner's office for the purpose of identifying the decedent or locating next of kin, or when investigating deaths that may involve public health concerns, organ or tissue donation, child abuse, elder abuse, suicides, poisonings, accidents, sudden infant deaths, suspicious deaths, unknown deaths, or criminal deaths, or when otherwise authorized by the decedent's representative. Medical information requested by the coroner under this paragraph shall be limited to information regarding the patient who is the decedent and who is the subject of the investigation and shall be disclosed to the coroner without delay upon request.
 
(9) When otherwise specifically required by law.
 
(c) A provider of health care or a health care service plan may disclose medical information as follows:
 
(1) The information may be disclosed to providers of health care, health care service plans, contractors, or other health care professionals or facilities for purposes of diagnosis or treatment of the patient. This includes, in an emergency situation, the communication of patient information by radio transmission or other means between emergency medical personnel at the scene of an emergency, or in an emergency medical transport vehicle, and emergency medical personnel at a health facility licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1250) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code.
 
(2) The information may be disclosed to an insurer, employer, health care service plan, hospital service plan, employee benefit plan, governmental authority, contractor, or any other person or entity responsible for paying for health care services rendered to the patient, to the extent necessary to allow responsibility for payment to be determined and payment to be made. If (A) the patient is, by reason of a comatose or other disabling medical condition, unable to consent to the disclosure of medical information and (B) no other arrangements have been made to pay for the health care services being rendered to the patient, the information may be disclosed to a governmental authority to the extent necessary to determine the patient's eligibility for, and to obtain, payment under a governmental program for health care services provided to the patient. The information may also be disclosed to another provider of health care or health care service plan as necessary to assist the other provider or health care service plan in obtaining payment for health care services rendered by that provider of health care or health care service plan to the patient.
 
(3) The information may be disclosed to a person or entity that provides billing, claims management, medical data processing, or other administrative services for providers of health care or health care service plans or for any of the persons or entities specified in paragraph (2). However, information so disclosed shall not be further disclosed by the recipient in a way that would violate this part.
 
(4) The information may be disclosed to organized committees and agents of professional societies or of medical staffs of licensed hospitals, licensed health care service plans, professional standards review organizations, independent medical review organizations and their selected reviewers, utilization and quality control peer review organizations as established by Congress in Public Law 97-248 in 1982, contractors, or persons or organizations insuring, responsible for, or defending professional liability that a provider may incur, if the committees, agents, health care service plans, organizations, reviewers, contractors, or persons are engaged in reviewing the competence or qualifications of health care professionals or in reviewing health care services with respect to medical necessity, level of care, quality of care, or justification of charges.
 
(5) The information in the possession of a provider of health care or health care service plan may be reviewed by a private or public body responsible for licensing or accrediting the provider of health care or health care service plan. However, no patient-identifying medical information may be removed from the premises except as expressly permitted or required elsewhere by law, nor shall that information be further disclosed by the recipient in a way that would violate this part.
 
(6) The information may be disclosed to the county coroner in the course of an investigation by the coroner's office when requested for all purposes not included in paragraph (8) of subdivision (b).
 
(7) The information may be disclosed to public agencies, clinical investigators, including investigators conducting epidemiologic studies, health care research organizations, and accredited public or private nonprofit educational or health care institutions for bona fide research purposes. However, no information so disclosed shall be further disclosed by the recipient in a way that would disclose the identity of a patient or violate this part.
 
(8) A provider of health care or health care service plan that has created medical information as a result of employment-related health care services to an employee conducted at the specific prior written request and expense of the employer may disclose to the employee's employer that part of the information that:
 
(A) Is relevant in a lawsuit, arbitration, grievance, or other claim or challenge to which the employer and the employee are parties and in which the patient has placed in issue his or her medical history, mental or physical condition, or treatment, provided that information may only be used or disclosed in connection with that proceeding.
 
(B) Describes functional limitations of the patient that may entitle the patient to leave from work for medical reasons or limit the patient's fitness to perform his or her present employment, provided that no statement of medical cause is included in the information disclosed.
 
(9) Unless the provider of health care or health care service plan is notified in writing of an agreement by the sponsor, insurer, or administrator to the contrary, the information may be disclosed to a sponsor, insurer, or administrator of a group or individual insured or uninsured plan or policy that the patient seeks coverage by or benefits from, if the information was created by the provider of health care or health care service plan as the result of services conducted at the specific prior written request and expense of the sponsor, insurer, or administrator for the purpose of evaluating the application for coverage or benefits.
 
(10) The information may be disclosed to a health care service plan by providers of health care that contract with the health care service plan and may be transferred among providers of health care that contract with the health care service plan, for the purpose of administering the health care service plan. Medical information shall not otherwise be disclosed by a health care service plan except in accordance with this part.
 
(11) This part does not prevent the disclosure by a provider of health care or a health care service plan to an insurance institution, agent, or support organization, subject to Article 6.6 (commencing with Section 791) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code, of medical information if the insurance institution, agent, or support organization has complied with all of the requirements for obtaining the information pursuant to Article 6.6 (commencing with Section 791) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 1 of the Insurance Code.
 
(12) The information relevant to the patient's condition, care, and treatment provided may be disclosed to a probate court investigator in the course of an investigation required or authorized in a conservatorship proceeding under the Guardianship-Conservatorship Law as defined in Section 1400 of the Probate Code, or to a probate court investigator, probation officer, or domestic relations investigator engaged in determining the need for an initial guardianship or continuation of an existing guardianship.
 
(13) The information may be disclosed to an organ procurement organization or a tissue bank processing the tissue of a decedent for transplantation into the body of another person, but only with respect to the donating decedent, for the purpose of aiding the transplant. For the purpose of this paragraph, "tissue bank" and "tissue" have the same meanings as defined in Section 1635 of the Health and Safety Code.
 
(14) The information may be disclosed when the disclosure is otherwise specifically authorized by law, including, but not limited to, the voluntary reporting, either directly or indirectly, to the federal Food and Drug Administration of adverse events related to drug products or medical device problems.
 
(15) Basic information, including the patient's name, city of residence, age, sex, and general condition, may be disclosed to a state-recognized or federally recognized disaster relief organization for the purpose of responding to disaster welfare inquiries.
 
(16) The information may be disclosed to a third party for purposes of encoding, encrypting, or otherwise anonymizing data. However, no information so disclosed shall be further disclosed by the recipient in a way that would violate this part, including the unauthorized manipulation of coded or encrypted medical information that reveals individually identifiable medical information.
 
(17) For purposes of disease management programs and services as defined in Section 1399.901 of the Health and Safety Code, information may be disclosed as follows: (A) to an entity contracting with a health care service plan or the health care service plan's contractors to monitor or administer care of enrollees for a covered benefit, if the disease management services and care are authorized by a treating physician, or (B) to a disease management organization, as defined in Section 1399.900 of the Health and Safety Code, that complies fully with the physician authorization requirements of Section 1399.902 of the Health and Safety Code, if the health care service plan or its contractor provides or has provided a description of the disease management services to a treating physician or to the health care service plan's or contractor's network of physicians. This paragraph does not require physician authorization for the care or treatment of the adherents of a well-recognized church or religious denomination who depend solely upon prayer or spiritual means for healing in the practice of the religion of that church or denomination.
 
(18) The information may be disclosed, as permitted by state and federal law or regulation, to a local health department for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, including, but not limited to, the reporting of disease, injury, vital events, including, but not limited to, birth or death, and the conduct of public health surveillance, public health investigations, and public health interventions, as authorized or required by state or federal law or regulation.
 
(19) The information may be disclosed, consistent with applicable law and standards of ethical conduct, by a psychotherapist, as defined in Section 1010 of the Evidence Code, if the psychotherapist, in good faith, believes the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the health or safety of a reasonably foreseeable victim or victims, and the disclosure is made to a person or persons reasonably able to prevent or lessen the threat, including the target of the threat.
 
(20) The information may be disclosed as described in Section 56.103.
 
(21) (A) The information may be disclosed to an employee welfare benefit plan, as defined under Section 3(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 1002(1)), which is formed under Section 302(c)(5) of the Taft-Hartley Act (29 U.S.C. Sec. 186(c)(5)), to the extent that the employee welfare benefit plan provides medical care, and may also be disclosed to an entity contracting with the employee welfare benefit plan for billing, claims management, medical data processing, or other administrative services related to the provision of medical care to persons enrolled in the employee welfare benefit plan for health care coverage, if all of the following conditions are met:
 
(i) The disclosure is for the purpose of determining eligibility, coordinating benefits, or allowing the employee welfare benefit plan, or the contracting entity, to advocate on the behalf of a patient or enrollee with a provider, a health care service plan, or a state or federal regulatory agency.
 
(ii) The request for the information is accompanied by a written authorization for the release of the information submitted in a manner consistent with subdivision (a) and Section 56.11.
 
(iii) The disclosure is authorized by and made in a manner consistent with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-191).
 
(iv) Any information disclosed is not further used or disclosed by the recipient in any way that would directly or indirectly violate this part or the restrictions imposed by Part 164 of Title 45 of the Code of Federal Regulations, including the manipulation of the information in any way that might reveal individually identifiable medical information.
 
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, Section 1374.8 of the Health and Safety Code shall not apply.
 
(d) Except to the extent expressly authorized by a patient or enrollee or subscriber or as provided by subdivisions (b) and (c), a provider of health care, health care service plan, contractor, or corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates shall not intentionally share, sell, use for marketing, or otherwise use medical information for a purpose not necessary to provide health care services to the patient.
 
(e) Except to the extent expressly authorized by a patient or enrollee or subscriber or as provided by subdivisions (b) and (c), a contractor or corporation and its subsidiaries and affiliates shall not further disclose medical information regarding a patient of the provider of health care or an enrollee or subscriber of a health care service plan or insurer or self-insured employer received under this section to a person or entity that is not engaged in providing direct health care services to the patient or his or her provider of health care or health care service plan or insurer or self-insured employer.
It shall be the duty of the coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all violent, sudden, or unusual deaths; unattended deaths; deaths where the deceased has not been attended by either a physician or a registered nurse, who is a member of a hospice care interdisciplinary team, as defined by subdivision (e) of Section 1746 of the Health and Safety Code in the 20 days before death; deaths related to or following known or suspected self-induced or criminal abortion; known or suspected homicide, suicide, or accidental poisoning; deaths known or suspected as resulting in whole or in part from or related to accident or injury either old or recent; deaths due to drowning, fire, hanging, gunshot, stabbing, cutting, exposure, starvation, acute alcoholism, drug addiction, strangulation, aspiration, or where the suspected cause of death is sudden infant death syndrome; death in whole or in part occasioned by criminal means; deaths associated with a known or alleged rape or crime against nature; deaths in prison or while under sentence; deaths known or suspected as due to contagious disease and constituting a public hazard; deaths from occupational diseases or occupational hazards; deaths of patients in state mental hospitals serving the mentally disabled and operated by the State Department of Mental Health; deaths of patients in state hospitals serving the developmentally disabled and operated by the State Department of Developmental Services; deaths under such circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused by the criminal act of another; and any deaths reported by physicians or other persons having knowledge of death for inquiry by coroner. Inquiry pursuant to this section does not include those investigative functions usually performed by other law enforcement agencies.
 
In any case in which the coroner conducts an inquiry pursuant to this section, the coroner or a deputy shall personally sign the certificate of death. If the death occurred in a state hospital, the coroner shall forward a copy of his or her report to the state agency responsible for the state hospital.
 
The coroner shall have discretion to determine the extent of inquiry to be made into any death occurring under natural circumstances and falling within the provisions of this section, and if inquiry determines that the physician of record has sufficient knowledge to reasonably state the cause of a death occurring under natural circumstances, the coroner may authorize that physician to sign the certificate of death.
 
For the purpose of inquiry, the coroner shall have the right to exhume the body of a deceased person when necessary to discharge the responsibilities set forth in this section.
Any funeral director, physician, or other person who has charge of a deceased person's body, when death occurred as a result of any of the causes or circumstances described in this section, shall immediately notify the coroner.
 
Any person who does not notify the coroner as required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
​In all cases in which a person has died under circumstances that afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the person's death has been occasioned by the act of another by criminal means, the coroner, upon determining that those reasonable grounds exist, shall immediately notify the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the criminal investigation. Notification shall be made by the most direct communication available. The report shall state the name of the deceased person, if known, the location of the remains, and other information received by the coroner relating to the death, including any medical information of the decedent that is directly related to the death. The report shall not include any information contained in the decedent's medical records regarding any other person unless that information is relevant and directly related to the decedent's death.

(a) The coroner or the coroner's appointed deputy, on being informed of a death and finding it to fall into the classification of deaths requiring his or her inquiry, may immediately proceed to where the body lies, examine the body, make identification, make inquiry into the circumstances, manner, and means of death, and, as circumstances warrant, either order its removal for further investigation or disposition or release the body to the next of kin.

(b) For purposes of inquiry, the body of one who is known to be dead from any of the causes or under any of the circumstances described in Section 27491 shall not be disturbed or moved from the position or place of death without permission of the coroner or the coroner's appointed deputy.
Any violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

(a) In any death into which the coroner is to inquire, the coroner may take charge of any and all personal effects, valuables, and property of the deceased at the scene of death or related to the inquiry and hold or safeguard them until lawful disposition thereof can be made. The coroner may lock the premises and apply a seal to the door or doors prohibiting entrance to the premises, pending arrival of a legally authorized representative of the deceased. However, this shall not be done in such a manner as to interfere with the investigation being conducted by other law enforcement agencies. Any costs arising from the premises being locked or sealed while occupied by property of the deceased may be a proper and legal charge against the estate of the deceased. Unless expressly permitted by law, any person who enters any premises or tampers with or removes any lock or seal in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
 
(b) Any property or evidence related to the investigation or prosecution of any known or suspected criminal death may, with knowledge of the coroner, be delivered to a law enforcement agency or district attorney, receipt for which shall be acknowledged.
 
(c) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (d), any person who searches for or removes any papers, moneys, valuable property or weapons constituting the estate of the deceased from the person of the deceased or from the premises, prior to arrival of the coroner or without the permission of the coroner, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
At the scene of any death, when it is immediately apparent or when it has not been previously recognized and the coroner's examination reveals that police investigation or criminal prosecution may ensue, the coroner shall not further disturb the body or any related evidence until the law enforcement agency has had reasonable opportunity to respond to the scene, if their purposes so require and they so request. Custody and control of the body shall remain with the coroner at all times. Reasonable time at the scene shall be allowed by the coroner for criminal investigation by other law enforcement agencies, with the time and location of removal of the remains to a convenient place to be determined at the discretion of the coroner.
 
(d) A peace officer may search the person or property on or about the person of the deceased, whose death is due to a traffic accident, for a driver's license or identification card to determine if an anatomical donor card is attached. If a peace officer locates such an anatomical donor card which indicates that the deceased is an anatomical donor, the peace officer shall immediately furnish such information to the coroner having jurisdiction.

​A physician and surgeon, physician assistant, funeral director, or other person shall immediately notify the coroner when he or she has knowledge of a death that occurred or has charge of a body in which death occurred under any of the following circumstances:

(a) Without medical attendance.
(b) During the continued absence of the attending physician and surgeon.
(c) Where the attending physician and surgeon or the physician assistant is unable to state the cause of death.
(d) Where suicide is suspected.
(e) Following an injury or an accident.
(f) Under circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused by the criminal act of another.

Any person who does not notify the coroner as required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

​(a) The right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, the location and conditions of interment, and arrangements for funeral goods and services to be provided, unless other directions have been given by the decedent pursuant to Section 7100.1, vests in, and the duty of disposition and the liability for the reasonable cost of disposition of the remains devolves upon, the following in the order named:
 
(1) An agent under a power of attorney for health care who has the right and duty of disposition under Division 4.7 (commencing with Section 4600) of the Probate Code, except that the agent is liable for the costs of disposition only in either of the following cases:
(A) Where the agent makes a specific agreement to pay the costs of disposition.
 
(B) Where, in the absence of a specific agreement, the agent makes decisions concerning disposition that incur costs, in which case the agent is liable only for the reasonable costs incurred as a result of the agent's decisions, to the extent that the decedent's estate or other appropriate fund is insufficient.
 
(2) The competent surviving spouse.
 
(3) The sole surviving competent adult child of the decedent, or if there is more than one competent adult child of the decedent, the majority of the surviving competent adult children. However, less than the majority of the surviving competent adult children shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving competent adult children of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions by the majority of all surviving competent adult children.
 
(4) The surviving competent parent or parents of the decedent. If one of the surviving competent parents is absent, the remaining competent parent shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section after reasonable efforts have been unsuccessful in locating the absent surviving competent parent.
 
(5) The sole surviving competent adult sibling of the decedent, or if there is more than one surviving competent adult sibling of the decedent, the majority of the surviving competent adult siblings. However, less than the majority of the surviving competent adult siblings shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if they have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving competent adult siblings of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions by the majority of all surviving competent adult siblings.
 
(6) The surviving competent adult person or persons respectively in the next degrees of kinship, or if there is more than one surviving competent adult person of the same degree of kinship, the majority of those persons. Less than the majority of surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kinship shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section if those persons have used reasonable efforts to notify all other surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kinship of their instructions and are not aware of any opposition to those instructions by the majority of all surviving competent adult persons of the same degree of kinship.
 
(7) The public administrator when the deceased has sufficient assets.
(b)
(1) If any person to whom the right of control has vested pursuant to subdivision (a) has been charged with first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent's death and those charges are known to the funeral director or cemetery authority, the right of control is relinquished and passed on to the next of kin in accordance with subdivision (a).
 
(2) If the charges against the person are dropped, or if the person is acquitted of the charges, the right of control is returned to the person.
 
(3) Notwithstanding this subdivision, no person who has been charged with first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in connection with the decedent's death to whom the right of control has not been returned pursuant to paragraph (2) shall have any right to control disposition pursuant to subdivision (a) which shall be applied, to the extent the funeral director or cemetery authority know about the charges, as if that person did not exist.
 
(c) A funeral director or cemetery authority shall have complete authority to control the disposition of the remains, and to proceed under this chapter to recover usual and customary charges for the disposition, when both of the following apply:
 
(1) Either of the following applies:
(A) The funeral director or cemetery authority has knowledge that none of the persons described in paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (a) exists.
 
(B) None of the persons described in paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (a) can be found after reasonable inquiry, or contacted by reasonable means.
 
(2) The public administrator fails to assume responsibility for disposition of the remains within seven days after having been given written notice of the facts. Written notice may be delivered by hand, U.S. mail, facsimile transmission, or telegraph.
 
(d) The liability for the reasonable cost of final disposition devolves jointly and severally upon all kin of the decedent in the same degree of kinship and upon the estate of the decedent. However, if a person accepts the gift of an entire body under subdivision (a) of Section 7155.5, that person, subject to the terms of the gift, shall be liable for the reasonable cost of final disposition of the decedent.
 
(e) This section shall be administered and construed to the end that the expressed instructions of the decedent or the person entitled to control the disposition shall be faithfully and promptly performed.
 
(f) A funeral director or cemetery authority shall not be liable to any person or persons for carrying out the instructions of the decedent or the person entitled to control the disposition.
 
(g) For purposes of this section, "adult" means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, "child" means a natural or adopted child of the decedent, and "competent" means an individual who has not been declared incompetent by a court of law or who has been declared competent by a court of law following a declaration of incompetence.

​(a) A decedent, prior to death, may direct, in writing, the disposition of his or her remains and specify funeral goods and services to be provided. Unless there is a statement to the contrary that is signed and dated by the decedent, the directions may not be altered, changed, or otherwise amended in any material way, except as may be required by law, and shall be faithfully carried out upon his or her death, provided both of the following requirements are met:

(1) the directions set forth clearly and completely the final wishes of the decedent in sufficient detail so as to preclude any material ambiguity with regard to the instructions; and,

(2) arrangements for payment through trusts, insurance, commitments by others, or any other effective and binding means, have been made, so as to preclude the payment of any funds by the survivor or survivors of the deceased that might otherwise retain the right to control the disposition.
 
(b) In the event arrangements for only one of either the cost of interment or the cost of the funeral goods and services are made pursuant to this section, the remaining wishes of the decedent shall be carried out only to the extent that the decedent has sufficient assets to do so, unless the person or persons that otherwise have the right to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services agree to assume the cost. All other provisions of the directions shall be carried out.
 
(c) If the directions are contained in a will, they shall be immediately carried out, regardless of the validity of the will in other respects or of the fact that the will may not be offered for or admitted to probate until a later date.
When any decedent leaves an estate in this state, the reasonable cost of interment and an interment plot of sufficient size to constitute a family plot and memorial including reasonable sums for either, or both, general and special endowment care of the plot proportionate to the value of the estate and in keeping with the standard of living adopted by the decedent prior to his demise, together with interest thereon from 60 days after the date of death, shall be considered as a part of the funeral expenses of the decedent and shall be paid as a preferred charge against his estate as provided in the Probate Code.
 
Reasonable costs of funeral services, together with interest thereon from 60 days after the date of death, shall be considered as a part of the funeral expenses of the decedent and shall be paid as a preferred charge against his estate as provided in the Probate Code.
 
If a claim for mortuary and funeral services, an interment plot or memorial is rejected the burden of proving that the cost of the funeral service, interment plot or memorial is disproportionate to the value of the estate and the standard of living adopted by the decedent while living shall be upon the executor or administrator rejecting the claim. This chapter does not prohibit any relative or friend of a decedent from assuming the duty or paying the expense of interment or the funeral services.
​When a person is charged by law with the duty of interment he is entitled to the custody of the remains for the purpose of interment or, with respect to cremated remains, for the purpose of burial at sea in accordance with the provisions of this division; except that in any case where a coroner is required by law to investigate the cause of death, the coroner is entitled to the custody of the remains of the person whose death is the subject of investigation until the conclusion of the autopsy or medical investigation by the coroner. Any person in whose possession such remains are found, shall, upon demand by the coroner, surrender such remains to him.
(a) Every person, upon whom the duty of interment is imposed by law, who omits to perform that duty within a reasonable time is guilty of a misdemeanor.
 
(b) Every licensee or registrant pursuant to Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 7600) or Chapter 19 (commencing with Section 9600) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, and the agents and employees of the licensee or registrant, or any unlicensed person acting in a capacity in which a license from the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau is required, upon whom the duty of interment is imposed by law, who omits to perform that duty within a reasonable time is guilty of a misdemeanor that shall be punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both that imprisonment and fine.
 
(c) In addition, any person, registrant, or licensee described in subdivision (a) or (b) is liable to pay the person performing the duty in his or her stead treble the expenses incurred by the latter in making the interment, to be recovered in a civil action.
(a) When no provision is made by the decedent, or where the estate is insufficient to provide for interment and the duty of interment does not devolve upon any other person residing in the state or if such person can not after reasonable diligence be found within the state the person who has custody of the remains may require the coroner of the county where the decedent resided at time of death to take possession of the remains and the coroner shall inter the remains in the manner provided for the interment of indigent dead.
 
(b) A county exercising jurisdiction over the death of an individual pursuant to Section 27491, or who assumes jurisdiction pursuant to Section 27491.55 of the Government Code, shall be responsible for the disposition of the remains of that decedent. If the decedent is an indigent, the costs associated with disposition of the remains shall be borne by the county exercising jurisdiction.
​If, within 30 days after the coroner notifies or diligently attempts to notify the person responsible for the interment of a decedent's remains which are in the possession of the coroner, the person fails, refuses, or neglects to inter the remains, the coroner may inter the remains. The coroner may recover any expenses of the interment from the responsible person.
(a) If the person or persons listed in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 that would otherwise have the right to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services fails to act, or fails to delegate his or her authority to act to some other person within seven days of the date when the right and duty devolves upon the person or persons, or in the case of a person listed in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 7100, within 10 days of the date when the right and duty devolves upon the person, the right to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services shall be relinquished and passed on to the person or persons of the next degree of kinship in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 7100.
 
(b) If the person or persons listed in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 that would otherwise have the right to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services cannot be found within seven days of the date when the right and duty devolves upon the person or persons, or in the case of a person listed in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 7100, within 10 days of the date when the right and duty devolves upon the person, after reasonable inquiry, the right to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services shall be relinquished and passed on to the person or persons of the next degree of kinship in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 7100.
 
(c) If any persons listed in paragraphs (1), (3), (4), (5), and (6), of subdivision (a) of Section 7100 that would otherwise have equal rights to control the disposition and arrange for funeral goods and services fail to agree on disposition and funeral goods and services to be provided within seven days of the date on which the right and duty of disposition devolved upon the persons, a funeral establishment or a cemetery authority having possession of the remains, or any person who has equal right to control the disposition of the remains may file a petition in the superior court in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death, or in which the remains are located, naming as a party to the action those persons who would otherwise have equal rights to control the disposition and seeking an order of the court determining, as appropriate, who among those parties will have the control of disposition and to direct that person to make interment of the remains. The court, at the time of determining the person to whom the right of disposition will vest, shall, from the remaining parties to the action, establish an alternate order to whom the right to control disposition will pass if the person vested with the right to control disposition fails to act within seven days.
 
(d) If the person vested with the duty of interment has criminal charges pending against him or her for the unlawful killing of the decedent, in violation of Section 187 of, or subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 192 of, the Penal Code, the person or persons with the next highest priority prescribed by Section 7100 may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order for control of the disposition of the decedent's remains. For this purpose, it shall be conclusively presumed that the petitioner is the person entitled to control the disposition of the remains if the petitioner is next in the order of priority specified in Section 7100.
Any person signing any authorization for the interment or cremation of any remains warrants the truthfulness of any fact set forth in the authorization, the identity of the person whose remains are sought to be interred or cremated, and his or her authority to order interment or cremation. He or she is personally liable for all damage occasioned by or resulting from breach of such warranty.
(a) Subject to subdivisions (b) and (c), and unless barred by Section 7150.30 or 7150.35, an anatomical gift of a decedent's body or part for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education may be made by any member of the following classes of persons who is reasonably available, in the following order of priority:
 
(1) An agent of the decedent at the time of death who could have made an anatomical gift under subdivision (b) of Section 7150.15 immediately before the decedent's death.
(2) The spouse or domestic partner of the decedent.
(3) Adult children of the decedent.
(4) Parents of the decedent.
(5) Adult siblings of the decedent.
(6) Adult grandchildren of the decedent.
(7) Grandparents of the decedent.
(8) An adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent during the decedent's lifetime.
(9) The persons who were acting as the guardians or conservators of the person of the decedent at the time of death.
(10)
(A) Any other person having the authority to dispose of the decedent's body, including, but not limited to, a coroner, medical examiner, or hospital administrator, provided that reasonable effort has been made to locate and inform persons listed in paragraphs (1) to (9), inclusive, of their option to make, or object to making, an anatomical gift.
 
(B) Except in the case where the useful life of the part does not permit, a reasonable effort shall be deemed to have been made when a search for the persons has been underway for at least 12 hours. The search shall include a check of local police missing persons records, examination of personal effects, and the questioning of any persons visiting the decedent before his or her death or in the hospital, accompanying the decedent's body, or reporting the death, in order to obtain information that might lead to the location of any persons listed.
 
(b) If there is more than one member of a class listed in paragraph (1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), or (9) of subdivision (a) entitled to make an anatomical gift, an anatomical gift may be made by a member of the class unless that member or a person to which the gift may pass under Section 7150.50 knows of an objection by another member of the class. If an objection is known, the gift may be made only by a majority of the members of the class who are reasonably available.
 
(c) A person shall not make an anatomical gift if, at the time of the decedent's death, a person in a prior class under subdivision (a) is reasonably available to make, or to object to the making of, an anatomical gift.

​Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no copy, reproduction, or facsimile of any kind shall be made of any photograph, negative, or print, including instant photographs and video recordings, of the body, or any portion of the body, of a deceased person, taken by or for the coroner at the scene of death or in the course of a post mortem examination or autopsy made by or caused to be made by the coroner, except for use in a criminal action or proceeding in this state that relates to the death of that person, or except as a court of this state permits, by order after good cause has been shown and after written notification of the request for the court order has been served, at least five days before the order is made, upon the district attorney of the county in which the post mortem examination or autopsy has been made or caused to be made. .
This section shall not apply to the making of such a copy, reproduction, or facsimile for use in the field of forensic pathology, for use in medical or scientific education or research, or for use by any law enforcement agency in this or any other state or the United States.

This section shall apply to any such copy, reproduction, or facsimile, and to any such photograph, negative, or print, heretofore or hereafter made.

(a) Every person who knowingly procures or offers any false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded in any public office within this state, which instrument, if genuine, might be filed, registered, or recorded under any law of this state or of the United States, is guilty of a felony.
 
(b) Each instrument which is procured or offered to be filed, registered, or recorded in violation of subdivision (a) shall constitute a separate violation of this section.
 
(c) Except in unusual cases where the interests of justice would best be served if probation is granted, probation shall not be granted to, nor shall the execution or imposition of sentence be
suspended for, any of the following persons:
 
(1) Any person with a prior conviction under this section who is again convicted of a violation of this section in a separate proceeding.
(2) Any person who is convicted of more than one violation of this section in a single proceeding, with intent to defraud another, and where the violations resulted in a cumulative financial loss exceeding one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
 
(d) For purposes of prosecution under this section, each act of procurement or of offering a false or forged instrument to be filed, registered, or recorded shall be considered a separately punishable offense.
(a) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so, signs the name of another person or of a fictitious person to any of the items listed in
subdivision (d) is guilty of forgery.
 
(b) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, counterfeits or forges the seal or handwriting of another is guilty of forgery.
 
(c) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, alters, corrupts, or falsifies any record of any will, codicil, conveyance, or other instrument, the record of which is by law evidence, or any record of any judgment of a court or the return of any officer to any process of any court, is guilty of forgery.
 
(d) Every person who, with the intent to defraud, falsely makes, alters, forges, or counterfeits, utters, publishes, passes or attempts or offers to pass, as true and genuine, any of the following
items, knowing the same to be false, altered, forged, or counterfeited, is guilty of forgery: any check, bond, bank bill, or note, cashier's check, traveler's check, money order, post note, draft, any controller's warrant for the payment of money at the treasury, county order or warrant, or request for the payment of money, receipt for money or goods, bill of exchange, promissory note, order, or any assignment of any bond, writing obligatory, or other contract for money or other property, contract, due bill for payment of money or property, receipt for money or property, passage ticket, lottery ticket or share purporting to be issued under the California State Lottery Act of 1984, trading stamp, power of attorney, certificate of ownership or other document evidencing ownership of a vehicle or undocumented vessel, or any certificate of any share, right, or interest in the stock of any corporation or association, or the delivery of goods or chattels of any kind, or for the delivery of any instrument of writing, or acquittance, release or discharge of any debt, account, suit, action, demand, or any other thing, real or personal, or any transfer or assurance of money, certificate of shares of stock, goods, chattels, or other property whatever, or any letter of attorney, or other power to receive money, or to receive or
transfer certificates of shares of stock or annuities, or to let, lease, dispose of, alien, or convey any goods, chattels, lands, or tenements, or other estate, real or personal, or falsifies the acknowledgment of any notary public, or any notary public who issues an acknowledgment knowing it to be false; or any matter described in subdivision (b).
 
(e) Upon a trial for forging any bill or note purporting to be the bill or note of an incorporated company or bank, or for passing, or attempting to pass, or having in possession with intent to pass, any forged bill or note, it is not necessary to prove the incorporation of the bank or company by the charter or act of incorporation, but it may be proved by general reputation; and persons of skill are competent witnesses to prove that the bill or note is forged or counterfeited.
a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a public administrator, government official, law enforcement agency, the hospital or institution in which a decedent died, or the decedent's employer, may, without the need to wait 40 days after death, deliver the tangible personal property of the decedent in its possession, including keys to the decedent's residence, to the decedent's surviving spouse, relative, or conservator or guardian of the estate acting in that capacity at the time of death.
 
(b) A person shall not deliver property pursuant to this section if the person knows or has reason to believe that there is a dispute over the right to possession of the property.
 
(c) A person that delivers property pursuant to this section shall require reasonable proof of the status and identity of the person to whom the property is delivered, and may rely on any document described in subdivision (d) of Section 13104 as proof of identity.
 
(d) A person that delivers property pursuant to this section shall, for a period of three years after the date of delivery of the property, keep a record of the property delivered and the status and identity of the person to whom the property is delivered.
 
(e) Delivery of property pursuant to this section does not determine ownership of the property or confer any greater rights in the property than the recipient would otherwise have and does not preclude later proceedings for administration of the decedent's estate. If proceedings for administration of the decedent's estate are commenced, the person holding the property shall deliver it to the personal representative on request by the personal representative.
 
(f) A person that delivers property pursuant to this section is not liable for loss or damage to the property caused by the person to whom the property is delivered.
(a) Reasonable proof of the identity of each person executing the affidavit or declaration shall be provided to the holder of the decedent's property.
 
(b) Reasonable proof of identity is provided for the purposes of this section if both of the following requirements are satisfied:
(1) The person executing the affidavit or declaration is personally known to the holder.
(2) The person executes the affidavit or declaration in the presence of the holder.
 
(c) If the affidavit or declaration is executed in the presence of the holder, a written statement under penalty of perjury by a person personally known to the holder affirming the identity of the person executing the affidavit or declaration is reasonable proof of identity for the purposes of this section.
 
(d) If the affidavit or declaration is executed in the presence of the holder, the holder may reasonably rely on any of the following as reasonable proof of identity for the purposes of this section:
(1) An identification card or driver's license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles of this state that is current or was issued during the preceding five years.
(2) A passport issued by the Department of State of the United States that is current or was issued during the preceding five years.
(3) Any of the following documents if the document is current or was issued during the preceding five years and contains a photograph and description of the person named on it, is signed by the person, and bears a serial or other identifying number:
(A) A passport issued by a foreign government that has been stamped by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service.
(B) A driver's license issued by a state other than California.
(C) An identification card issued by a state other than California.
(D) An identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States.
(e) For the purposes of this section, a notary public's certificate of acknowledgment identifying the person executing the affidavit or declaration is reasonable proof of identity of the person executing the affidavit or declaration.
 
(f) Unless the affidavit or declaration contains a notary public's certificate
of acknowledgment of the identity of the person, the holder shall note on the affidavit or declaration either that the
person executing the affidavit or declaration is personally known or a description of the identification provided by the person executing the affidavit or declaration.