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§ 8616. Rights and duties at death

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 20 Pa.C.S.A. Decedents, Estates and FiduciariesEffective: October 26, 2019

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 20 Pa.C.S.A. Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 86. Anatomical Gifts (Refs & Annos)
Subchapter B. Express Anatomical Gifts (Refs & Annos)
Effective: October 26, 2019
20 Pa.C.S.A. § 8616
§ 8616. Rights and duties at death
(a) Donees and relatives.--The donee may accept or reject the gift. If the donee accepts a gift of the entire body, he shall, subject to the terms of the gift, authorize embalming and the use of the body in funeral services if the surviving spouse or next of kin as determined in section 8611(b) (relating to persons who may execute anatomical gift) requests embalming and use of the body for funeral services. If the gift is of a part of the body, the donee, upon the death of the donor and prior to embalming, shall cause the part to be removed without unnecessary mutilation. After removal of the part, custody of the remainder of the body vests in the surviving spouse, next of kin or other persons under obligation to dispose of the body.
(b) Physicians.--The time of death shall be determined by a physician who tends the donor at his death or, if none, the physician who certifies the death.
(c) Certain liability limited.--The following shall apply:
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a person who acts in good faith in accordance with the terms of this subchapter or with the anatomical gift laws of another state or a foreign country shall not be liable for damages in any civil action or subject to prosecution in any criminal proceeding for the person's act.
(2) The immunity from civil liability provided under paragraph (1) shall not extend to acts or omissions resulting from gross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct of the person.
(3) Neither a person making an anatomical gift nor a donor's estate shall be liable for injury or damage that results from the making or use of the anatomical gift. In determining whether an anatomical gift has been made, amended or revoked under this subchapter, a person may rely upon representations of an individual listed in section 8611(b) regarding the individual's relationship to the donor or decedent unless the person knows that the representation is untrue.
(d) Law on autopsies applicable.--Subject to the provisions of section 8626 (relating to facilitation of anatomical gift from decedent whose death is under investigation), the provisions of this subchapter are subject to the laws of this Commonwealth prescribing powers and duties with respect to autopsies. Notwithstanding 18 Pa.C.S. Ch. 91 (relating to criminal history record information), an organ procurement organization is authorized to obtain a copy of an autopsy report in a timely fashion upon request and payment of reasonable copying fees.


1994, Dec. 1, P.L. 655, No. 102, § 8, effective in 90 days. Amended 2018, Oct. 23, P.L. 594, No. 90, § 7, effective upon publication of notice under 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 8629 at 49 Pa.B. 6491 [Oct. 26, 2019].
20 Pa.C.S.A. § 8616, PA ST 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 8616
Current through Act 13 of the 2024 Regular Session. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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