Sometimes when someone dies, no next of kin can be found. Some families may be unable, or unwilling, to pay for the funeral. In cases like this the Council have a legal duty (under Section 46 of the Public Health [Control of Diseases] Act 1984) to make the arrangements.
The person who died may have been:
- cared for by the local authority
- lived alone
The council will try to trace and notify a person’s next of kin, through any contact details or paperwork left by the person who has died.
In some cases, a family may be notified about the death of a relative that they have been estranged from.
The family may be unable or unwilling to pay for the funeral, especially if the person who died left no estate from which to recover the funeral costs.
When this is the case, the next of kin will be asked to make a written statement to confirm that they are not prepared to arrange the funeral.
Please see our Recent Public Health Funerals page.