A. A person licensed for the practice of funeral service shall not (i) remove or embalm a body when he has information indicating the death was such that an investigation by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is required pursuant to § 32.1-283 or 32.1-285.1 or (ii) cremate or bury at sea a body until he has obtained permission of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as required by § 32.1-309.3.
B. Except as provided in § 32.1-301 and Chapter 8.1 (§ 32.1-309.1 et seq.) of Title 32.1, funeral service establishments shall not accept a dead human body from any public officer, except the Chief Medical Examiner, an Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, or a medical examiner appointed pursuant to § 32.1-282, or from any public or private facility or person having a professional relationship with the decedent without having first inquired about the desires of the next of kin and the persons liable for the funeral expenses of the decedent. The authority and directions of any next of kin shall govern the disposal of the body, subject to the provisions of § 54.1-2807.01 or 54.1-2825.Any funeral service establishment violating this subsection shall not charge for any service delivered without the directions of the next of kin. However, in cases of accidental or violent death, the funeral service establishment may charge and be reimbursed for the removal of bodies and rendering necessary professional services until the next of kin or the persons liable for the funeral expenses have been notified.
C. No company, corporation, or association engaged in the business of paying or providing for the payment of the expenses for the care of the remains of deceased certificate holders or members or engaged in providing life insurance when the contract might or could give rise to an obligation to care for the remains of the insured shall contract to pay or pay any benefits to any licensee of the Board or other individual in a manner which could restrict the freedom of choice of the representative or next of kin of a decedent in procuring necessary and proper services and supplies for the care of the remains of the decedent.
D. No person licensed for the practice of funeral service or preneed funeral planning or any of his agents shall interfere with the freedom of choice of the general public in the choice of persons or establishments for the care of human remains or of preneed funeral planning or preneed funeral contracts.
Code 1950, §§ 54-260.50, 54-260.59; 1956, c. 220; 1972, c. 797, § 54-260.74; 1979, c. 720; 1981, c. 258; 1986, c. 91; 1988, c. 765; 1989, c. 684; 1993, c. 965; 2005, c. 905; 2010, c. 383; 2014, cc. 228, 583.