Typically when we make funeral arrangements, we rely on a licensed funeral home to perform the services and the transportation of a departed loved one. However, sometimes we get requests from individuals who wish to take personal responsibility for the transfer of remains of a loved one to a funeral home, crematorium or cemetery. If you are considering the option of a private transfer, there are processes to follow to ensure the handling of the remains are done in a safe, dignified and respectful manner.

Obtain permission for a private transfer:

Following a death, the remains must be transferred to their final destination as soon as possible. Before the private transfer can occur our Private Transfer Permit Application must first be submitted and approved by our office. This application ensures that all proper procedures are followed including a burial permit being obtained.

Have the paperwork in place:

It is recommended that the legal representative of the deceased contact the cemetery or crematorium prior to the transfer occurring so the appropriate arrangements can be discussed and agreed upon. If the deceased is being cremated, a cremation authorization form must be completed by the legal representative.

Follow requirements when transferring the deceased*:

According to the section 12 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act and sections 4 & 5 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Regulation, during transportation, the deceased must be placed in an enclosed rigid container and not visible to the public. Also, the person transferring the remains must be in the vehicle or it must be locked and secure at all times.

Consider your obligations if transferring to another jurisdiction:

A private transfer permit is only valid while transferring a deceased within British Columbia. If you are going outside of British Columbia, permits must also be obtained from the other jurisdictions.

Know what is required if transferring to a crematorium:

Not all crematoriums can receive private transfers. Check with the crematorium to find out what is permissible. Also, a physician or licensed embalmer must remove pacemakers or other radioactive or mechanical device prior to cremation.

A death can often result in many difficult decisions being made in a very short period of time. By knowing your obligations beforehand, a private transfer allows family and friends options on how to bring a deceased to their final resting place. To find out more about private transfers, visit this page on our website.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Have you had “the talk”? Steps to take & 5 tips about funeral services
Your preneed cemetery or funeral services contract rights
Cemetery and funeral services: do you know your rights?
Steps to take following a death