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Public health funerals

Sadly, people sometimes die having made no suitable arrangements for their burial and with no blood relatives to make funeral arrangements. In these cases the council will intervene in order to ensure that funeral arrangements are made.

When does the council get involved?

The council normally actís on instructions from the local Coroners Office. In some cases managers of residential homes or sheltered accommodation tell the Council when a death has happened at their home or accommodation if they have no next of kin.

If a person dies in hospital then arrangements for burial or cremation are made by the health authority.

What happens after a possible case is referred to the council?

When the council has been told about a death the deceased personís belongings are collected by the council from the police or whoever else has them.

If the address of where the deceased person lived is known, the council will search their home to try and find a will or any other documents that will tell us if they have any relatives, religious beliefs or funeral preferences.

The death is registered by the council if it has not already been done.

If details about family and friends are found, they will be told about the death and asked them if they want to make the funeral arrangements.

If a will is found the executor (the person who will be responsible for looking after your estate when you die) will be asked to make the funeral arrangements in line with the deceased personís wishes. The council will then take no further action.

The cost of the funeral is normally paid for using the money from the deceased persons estate. (A personís estate is all the belongings you own when you die). If there isnít enough money in their estate to meet the costs, the executor of the will is personally responsible.

If the deceased person has not made a will the person who is arranging the funeral (normally the next of kin) is responsible for the funeral costs.

Help may be available from other sources like charities and the Department of Works and Pensions. Support will be provided to help claim for these funds. If this happens we will tell the executor that they should keep the funeral costs to a minimum as funds may be limited.

Wherever possible we will recover expenses from the deceasedís estate to limit the cost to the taxpayer.

The following administration fees will be made and recovered from the estate

We charge an administration fee of £240, plus we will recover from the estate the costs of the funeral.

If there is not enough money in the deceased personís estate to cover the administration costs a statement will have to be made. This will need to confirm what has been left in the deceased persons estate (including money possessions and property) and the charges may not apply.

Contact details

We receive large numbers of requests under the Freedom of Information Act to provide details of recent public health funerals. Details of the most recent funerals are summarised in the related documents section.

Environmental Health Services

South Derbyshire District Council
Civic Offices
Civic Way
Swadlincote
Derbyshire
DE11 0AH

Tel: 01283 595795
Fax: 01283 595855
Online: make a general enquiry
email: environmental.health@south-derbys.gov.uk

Related documents