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When someone dies it can be a very distressing time for those arranging a funeral, especially if there are concerns about how the funeral is to be paid for. The cost of a funeral is usually met through the estate of the deceased. However, if there are insufficient funds, the executor is personally liable.
Where the deceased has not left a will, the person arranging the funeral (normally their next of kin) is liable to meet the funeral and burial / cremation costs.
In some cases, a person may die without having made such arrangements, having not left the financial resources or having no relatives in a position to pay for and arrange a funeral.
If you are concerned about how you are going to pay for the funeral, it is important that you discuss this with your chosen Funeral Director at an early stage in the arrangements. Please be aware that once you have entered into a contract with the funeral director you will be responsible for paying their costs.
If you or a partner is receiving certain benefits such as Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, you may be entitled to a funeral payment from the Social Fund. Further information about funeral payments, including an application form, can be found on the Gov UK website.
In some cases, the district council can take responsibility for the burial / cremation of a body, under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984.
However, we will look to recover the funeral expenses. Where there are assets that exceed the cost of the funeral in the deceased's estate, we will look to recover the costs to reduce the expense to the taxpayer.
The council will collect the deceased's personal effects and search a property to find any documents such as a will, or which indicate preferences or religious beliefs, or the existence of any relatives. This is a very important part of the service the council provides, carried out with care and consideration for the dignity of the deceased and their family.
If family and friends are traced, they will be invited to make the funeral arrangements. Relatives will also be asked to confirm in writing if they are not prepared to do this.
We will make arrangements to dispose of furniture and other property belonging to the deceased. If sold, the money recovered will be used to offset the cost of the funeral. Personal items such as photographs will be offered to family. We will also register the death.
We will employ a funeral director and organise a burial or cremation. We will pay for the basic costs of the burial / cremation. If we know what the deceased's wishes were, we will always look to meet these.
We will only provide a service if it is known there will be mourners who wish to pay their last respects. A committal service will take place in the crematorium or at the graveside. Known family and friends will be informed of the funeral details. A service, in line with the deceased's beliefs (where known), will take place. Where possible, the minister or officiate will speak to any known family to make the service a personal one.
Cremated remains will be scattered in a garden of remembrance. For burials, an internment will take place in a non-private grave. No memorial is permitted unless the Exclusive Right of Burial is purchased.
Where relatives are known, the balance of any estate, after funeral costs, is paid to the next of kin. They are then responsible for settling the deceased's estate. If no relatives are found, the balance is paid to the Treasury Solicitor.
Please contact us if you have any enquiries about National Assistance Funerals.
Newark and Sherwood District Council