The Bernalillo County Purchasing Department administers the Unclaimed/Indigent Cremation Program for deceased persons who have passed away within the geographical boundaries of Bernalillo County.
It is our mission to provide a deserved, lawful, proper and dignified manner of disposition for those decedent residents who are indigent or go unclaimed upon death, and to handle every case accurately and lawfully with the utmost attention. Bernalillo County respects each individual in the community and will treat all with maximum regard and dignity.
A local funeral home is under contract with Bernalillo County to provide direct cremation only.
PLEASE NOTE: This program does not assist with funeral expenses, viewing at the funeral home or any other service at the funeral home or a place of worship, neither before nor after cremation.
The funeral home currently under contract with Bernalillo County is:
New Mexico Mortuary/ Riverside Funeral Home
225 San Mateo Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108
Eligibility for the Unclaimed/Indigent Cremation Program is based on the deceased person who must meet all three of the requirements listed below per New Mexico State Statute upon death:
1. "Indigent Status"
a. Deceased persons shall be considered to be an indigent
if his/her estate is insufficient to cover the cost of burial or cremation (NMSA 1978 §24-13-2
2. "Bernalillo County Resident"
a. A resident is defined as someone who has lived in Bernalillo County for a minimum of six months prior to the time of passing.
b. If the deceased person is declared indigent, cremation expenses shall become the responsibility of the county of residence of the deceased person (NMSA 1978 §24-13-3
i. If the decedent is not a resident of Bernalillo County at the time of death, Bernalillo County cannot proceed any further and will send/direct to the appropriate county of residence.
ii. In the event that the decedent’s primary residence is out of the state of New Mexico, but he or she passes away in Bernalillo County, the occurrence will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
3. "Property/Assets Ownership"
a. For the purposes of NMSA 1978 §24-13-2
, decedents are deemed indigent when they do not own property/assets of sufficient value
to cover the cost of burial or cremation. If the decedent is unclaimed
next of kin) and had known assets or property of sufficient value to defray the expenses of cremation or burial, per NMSA 1978 §24-13-3
, invoices for the expenses shall be forwarded to such person or official authorized by law to be appointed administrator of the estate of the deceased to pay expenses from the estate.
The responsibility of Bernalillo County, under state statute, is to provide direct cremation only. This is defined as the disposition of a dead human body as quickly as possible, without a funeral, graveside services, committal services or memorial service, whether public or private, and without embalming of the body unless embalming is required by the place of disposition (NMSA 1978 §61-32-3(I.)
The county shall ensure that the body is cremated no later than 30 days
, after a determination has been made that the body has not been claimed, but no less than two weeks
after death (NMSA 1978 §24-13-1
If the decedent has known legal next of kin, in accordance with state statute, he or she must acknowledge and adhere to the county program’s policies and procedures of disposition, and have no further say in the proceedings
. At that time, in adherence with the program’s procedures and policies of disposition, Bernalillo County will then assume the responsibility for proper disposition (NMSA §24-12A-2
Releasing of Cremated Remains
The cremated remains may be released, provided the cost of cremation has been reimbursed, in full, to Bernalillo County, no earlier than ninety days following the date of death and no later than a period of two years from the time of cremation; remains will be held by the current contracted funeral home during this time.
If the decedent is a veteran, the reimbursement date may be expedited, pending verification from the Office of Veteran Affairs.
To access the names of indigent/unclaimed persons who will be buried July 9, 2013 in a memorial burial, please click here.