A coroner’s seal on the door of a property is not something you come across every day but when you do, it is important to know what protection the seal extends and the legal ramifications of breaking it if you are not legally authorized to do so.
When a person dies under certain circumstances such as dying unattended with no next of kin immediately available, the coroner arrives to store the body once the police have completed their investigation. Once the body is off the premises, the coroner places a seal on the door(s) of the property after making sure all windows and doors are locked. Placed over the door and the doorjamb, this seal on the property provides legal protection to the deceased’s belongings until the legal representative of the person who passed away comes to claim the property. Until that person arrives with the police with a legal letter from the coroner, no one, not even the property owner, is allowed inside.
Who can remove the seal?
When a corner’s seal is placed on a property, only the coroner themselves or the legal next of kin are allowed to break it and enter the premises. If someone who is not authorized enters the property, they can be legally charged with a misdemeanor and face legal consequences. Even if a property needs to be cleaned, you cannot pass through until the next of kin arrives.
Next of kin is a legal term denoting a person legally appointed to represent the deceased and settle their estate. Even if you are related to the person who passed away, the seal must remain in place until you have the legal authorization to break it.
If cost accrue due to the deceased’s property occupying the property, lost rent for example, the property owner can make a legal claim against the estate to recover the lost funds. In some cases, the seal can be broken only for the purpose of cleaning up any biohazards resulting from an event such as a suicide or body decomposition. If biohazards need to be cleaned up in cases such as these and the coroner’s seal has already been put in place, then the coroner or police must be there to authorize the breaking of the seal.
Bio SoCal is here to help
Bio SoCal regularly works with the coroner’s office and local police departments in cases like this and can walk you through what needs to be done to restore the safety of the property while maintaining the protection of a person’s belongings until the next of kin arrives. If you need help, we are happy to work with you and answer questions along the way. Simply give us a call today and we’ll provide you with a free quote and consultation.
Locally owned and strictly adhering to all local and federal rules and regulations, we meticulously clean biohazards after a death such as blood, body fluids, urine and feces while restoring the property to prevent conditions. Available 24-7, we are here when you need us.