2005 California Government Code Sections 27460-27472 Article 1. Duties Generally

SECTION 27460-27472

27460.  If an inquest is held by the coroner and no other person
takes charge of the body of the deceased, he shall cause it to be
interred decently.
27461.  In order to inter decently the body of the deceased, the
coroner may apply to a judge of the superior court of his county for
an order permitting him to:  (a) sell summarily any personal property
belonging to the deceased, (b) withdraw any money that the deceased
has on deposit with any bank, and (c) collect any indebtedness or
claim that is owing or due the deceased.
   If upon the application it appears to the court by competent
evidence that the total value of the estate of the deceased is less
than seventy-five dollars ($75), the judge shall make an order
granting the application, and there shall be no administration upon
the estate of the deceased unless additional estate is found or
discovered.  No notice of the application need be given and no fee
shall be charged by the clerk of the court or coroner for the filing
of the application or for any duty or service connected therewith.
Upon the sale of the personal property of the deceased or the
collection of any money, claim, or indebtedness by the coroner, he
shall use the money for expenses of the funeral of the deceased.
27462.  The coroner shall file with the clerk of the court a
statement showing the property of the deceased that came into his
hands, the amount received from the sale of any personal property,
and the disposition of the property of the deceased.  He shall also
file with the clerk vouchers showing what disposition was made of the
property.  If there is not sufficient property belonging to the
estate of the deceased to pay the necessary expenses of the burial,
the expenses are a legal charge against the county.
27463.  The coroner shall keep an official register, labeled
"Coroner's Register," with pages numbered, indexed and bound, in
which he shall enter:
   (a) The name and any aliases of the deceased, when known,
including such description as may be sufficient for identification
and which may, in his discretion, include fingerprint records.
   (b) A narrative summary of the circumstances leading to and
surrounding the death, together with names and addresses of any
witnesses to such events.
   (c) The property taken from the person or premises of the deceased
by the coroner or by any other law enforcement agency or officer.
   (d) The disposition of any property or moneys so taken.
   (e) The cause of death, when known, with reference or direction to
the detailed medical reports upon which decision as to cause of
death has been based.
   (f) Information as to disposition of the remains.
   (g) Persons notified of the death, together with a notation of any
unsuccessful attempts at notification.
27463.5.  In lieu of the "coroner's register," the coroner may keep
an official file for each deceased person containing all of the
information required by Section 27463.  At any time after the
completion of the coroner's investigation, and the closing of the
particular case involved, the coroner may photograph or
microphotograph the contents of the file in accordance with the
provisions of Section 26205, and, when the photographs or
microphotographs are placed in conveniently accessible files and
provision is made for preserving, examining, and using the same, the
original file may be destroyed.
27464.  Whenever the death of any person shall have been referred to
the coroner for investigation, there shall be delivered to the
coroner any note, letter or other document apparently written by the
deceased which may tend to indicate an intention by the writer to
take the writer's life, including directions for disposition of
property or disposal of remains.  A facsimile copy thereof shall be
placed in the coroner's records, and, if an inquest be held, a true
copy shall be read into the record and transcribed into the notes of
the official stenographer.  Upon completion of legal proceedings
arising from such death, the original instrument shall be delivered
by the coroner to the addressee or to the legal representative of the
estate of the decedent; provided, however, that if the instrument
purports to be testamentary in nature, it shall be filed with the
clerk of the court as provided by law.
27465.  Within 90 days after an inquest upon a dead body the coroner
shall deliver to the legal representatives of the deceased any money
or other property found upon the body.
27466.  If, within 90 days after the inquest, no legal
representative makes a demand upon the coroner for the money or
property found upon the body of the decedent, the coroner shall
deliver to the treasurer any money, and the proceeds of the sale of
any property found upon the body.  At the same time, the coroner
shall deliver an affidavit to the treasurer showing:
   (a) The amount of money belonging to the estate of the deceased
person which has come into his possession since the coroner's last
   (b) The disposition made of any property.
27467.  If the coroner fails to deliver to the treasurer within 120
days after any inquest upon a dead body all money and proceeds from
the sale of property found upon the body, unless claimed in the
meantime by the public administrator or other legal representative of
the decedent, the district attorney shall proceed against the
coroner to recover the money or proceeds by civil action in the name
of the county.
27468.  If within 90 days after an inquest upon a dead body no legal
representative of the decedent demands from the coroner the property
found upon the person of the decedent, the coroner shall sell the
property at public auction upon reasonable public notice, and
immediately thereafter deliver the proceeds of the sale to the
treasurer, who shall place them to the credit of the county.
27469.  In any action or proceeding in which the sheriff is a party,
the coroner shall discharge the duties of sheriff.
27470.  If no private ambulance service other than that operated by
a coroner is available, in addition to his salary and other fees
allowed by law the coroner may be reimbursed for ambulance services
rendered in conveying any person to the county hospital, where the
person and the persons responsible for his support are unable to pay
for the service.
27470.5.  Any county with a population under 250,000 that has
elected to implement a trauma care system plan pursuant to Section
1797.257 of the Health and Safety Code may charge any actual costs
incurred in the performance of an autopsy upon a person who was a
resident of another county to the county of origin of that person.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the
jurisdiction of the county coroner or medical examiner in the county
performing the autopsy over any inquiry or investigation into the
cause of death of that person.
27471.  (a) Whenever the coroner takes custody of a dead body
pursuant to law, he or she shall make a reasonable attempt to locate
the family.  After a reasonable attempt, the coroner may embalm the
body or authorize the embalming by a mortician for purposes of
preserving the remains for evidence, to prevent microbial and
contagious disease hazards, or for investigative functions.  If the
embalming has been requested by the family or by a person authorized
to take charge of the body prior to such embalming, and such family
or person has agreed to accept the expense, the coroner may charge
and collect up to one hundred thirty-five dollars ($135).  Any
family, however, which has not been located within 24 hours of the
custody by the coroner of the body, shall not be charged more than
sixty-five dollars ($65).
   This subdivision shall only apply to counties that own and
maintain a central morgue with a paid, full-time staff that performs
   (b) Except as provided in subdivision (a), whenever the coroner
takes custody of a dead body pursuant to law, he or she may embalm
the body, and charge and collect up to one hundred thirty-five
dollars ($135) from the person entitled to its custody, except when
the body is that of a child not more than 14 years of age or a person
for whose burial there is available less than one hundred fifty
dollars ($150), in which cases the expense of embalming is a county
charge.  In any county where the coroner is paid a salary, the fee
shall be paid into the county treasury, except that the board of
supervisors may order that the fee be paid to the coroner if the
coroner is a funeral director in the county.
   (c) The board of supervisors shall by ordinance establish the fee
to be charged pursuant to this section.
   (d) The board of supervisors may increase the amount of the fees
specified in subdivisions (a) and (b) pursuant to Chapter 12.5
(commencing with Section 54985) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5.
27472.  If authorized by the county board of supervisors by
ordinance, the coroner, whenever he or she takes custody of a dead
body pursuant to law, may charge and collect from the person entitled
to control the disposition of the remains, as specified in Section
7100 of the Health and Safety Code, the actual expense incurred by
the coroner in removing the body from the place of death and keeping
the body until its release to the person responsible for its
interment.  The charge shall not exceed one hundred dollars ($100),
shall not be imposed upon a person who claims and proves to be
indigent, or in cases in which the body is that of a child not more
than 14 years of age or in cases in which the coroner ascribes the
death to the criminal act of another unless the coroner has
reasonable grounds to believe that the deceased was involved in any
criminal activity which contributed to his or her own death.  The
charge shall not include expenses of keeping the body during the time
necessary for the coroner to perform his or her duties in connection
with it.  The charge, if not paid, may be considered a part of the
funeral expenses and paid as a preferred charge against the estate of
the decedent.

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