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If a person dies without a known next of kin we normally act on written instructions received from the local coroner's officer.

If we are able to locate the deceased’s next of kin or family member(s) we always try to contact them to find out if they want to make their own arrangements for their relative’s funeral.

There are a number of options available:

Arranging the funeral yourself – low cost funerals and advice

If you are looking for help, support, advice or guidance planning a funeral, either for yourself or for someone close to you, please contact the Natural Death Centre Charity. They also offer advice on low cost funerals

Arranging the funeral yourself – claiming for a funeral payment from the social fund

If there are family members or close friends who want to arrange the funeral they may be able to claim a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund if they are claiming benefits. Please contact the Bereavement Line on 0845 606 0265 or claim online

Arranging the funeral yourself – claiming a one off payment from the Bereavement Service

If a husband, wife or civil partner has died and paid National Insurance contributions they may be eligible for a one-off, tax-free, lump-sum bereavement payment of £2,000. Please contact the bereavement service on 0345 606 0265 or claim online.

When the Council arranges the funeral

Sadly there are occasions when someone dies in the district and there is no one willing and / or able to make arrangements for their funeral. In these situations the Council makes arrangements according to the National Assistance Act 1948 and the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984

What we do:

  • Endeavour to contact the next of kin in these situations and find out if they want to make arrangements for their relative
  • Provide a basic funeral if no one else is willing or able
  • Recover the costs of administering the funeral from the estate. If any funds remain, they are paid to the Treasury Solicitor's office

 We receive a number of Freedom of Information requests in relation to funerals that have been undertaken by the Council – please also see national assistance burials since 2007.