Identification Of Human Remains

Developed in 1998 by the Government and Legal Affairs Task Force of the
International Cemetery and Funeral Association



Funeral homes should implement a reliable system for the identification of human remains to give consumers assurance that safeguards are in place to minimize the incidence of misidentification. Further, in the case of a disinterment, or if a flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster disturbs the place of interment, the identification and reinterment of the human remains would be facilitated by this system.


  1. An identification device should be affixed to the human remains, preferably on the ankle, at the place of removal, that is, the hospital, nursing facility, residence, coroner's office, etc.
  2. If the human remains are in a disaster pouch or wrapped in plastic due to communicable disease, the identification device should be securely affixed to the pouch or wrappings.
  3. The placement of an identification device on the human remains should not be construed as desecration or abuse of human remains.
  4. The identification device should be comprised of durable material, which is permanently marked with at least the following information: the deceased's name, date of birth, date of death, and social security number. If such information is not available, the identification device should state that it is unknown.
  5. Once affixed to the human remains, the identification device should stay on the human remains at all times. In the case of cremation, the identification device should be cremated along with the human remains.