Indigent Burial Program

Families & Indigents

Families may find themselves financially unable to cover costs related to the final disposition. Napa County offers burial for indigents. To qualify, both the decedent and the person legally responsible for the disposition of the remains must be legally indigent. California State law requires blood relatives of the deceased to provide for the disposition of the remains (Health and Safety Code sections §7100 and 7103). Failure to act in a timely manner is a criminal misdemeanor violation and could result in the next of kin being required to pay up to three times the cost of the disposition.

Section §7100 of the Health and Safety Code establishes next of kin.

Priority Order

The general order of priority for the duty of disposition of remains and the liability for reasonable costs is:

  1. Durable power of attorney
  2. Spouse
  3. Adult children
  4. Parent
  5. Adult siblings
  6. Public Administrator


Residents of Napa County may be eligible for assistance in making disposition as required by Law. Applicants must prove that the deceased and the next of kin are indigent and financially unable to pay for the disposition of the remains. If you feel you qualify, you need to contact the Napa County Public Guardian at 707-253-4049.

If you qualify for the indigent burial program, Napa County will handle final disposition and burial of the remains. There are no provisions for services, or viewing. The remains will not be returned to the family and the burial site will be marked with a reference number only.


If the deceased is a Veteran (Honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States), the burial cannot be made in any cemetery or burial ground used exclusively for the pauper dead. The burial must be made in a plot that is not associated with any portion of a pauper’s field. Burial is most often made in a military cemetery plot. Veteran Services can assist with the burial of a Veteran. A DD form 214, Veterans service number, or similar documentation will be needed to show the deceased served in, and was honorably discharged from, the Armed Forces of the United States. Contact Veteran Services at 707-253-4558, to determine eligibility, and apply for assistance, for a military burial.

Refer to the Veteran’s Benefits Administration Website for additional information regarding death benefits for Veteran.