If a person dies in hospital, or is dead on arrival at a hospital, then that hospital will be responsible for personal items. Similarly, if the death occurs in an institution, property will remain with the institution for collection by next of kin.
If a person dies at home, personal items will either be handed to relatives by the police or taken for safe keeping to the local police station. If personal items are found when the body is admitted to the City Mortuary they will be sent for safe keeping to the Adelaide Police Station.
If the deceased is admitted to the City Mortuary the clothing is generally handed over to the funeral director. However, if the clothing is contaminated in any way it will be disposed of immediately. This is for occupational health and safety reasons. If the death occurs in a hospital, the clothing is held there.
Generally, valuables and clothing may be collected by the next of kin. However, if any of these items are required as evidence they will not be available until the police and the State Coroner have concluded their investigations.
Disputes over the ownership of valuables or any other property is not a coronial matter, and therefore coronial staff are not permitted to become involved. Such matters should be referred to the executor of the estate, and if there is no will, the Public Trustee.