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When a person dies within our area and there is no one available to take responsibility for the funeral, under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, North West Leicestershire District Council may arrange the funeral.

Should the person die in hospital or in an ambulance on the way to hospital, the hospital may arrange the funeral.

We would not usually undertake these arrangements if there was a next of kin, or if the next of kin was in receipt of benefits as the Department of Work and Pensions would pay for a very basic funeral. Where the deceased is ex-service personnel then you should also try contacting the Royal British Legion before contacting us as they may be able to deal with the funeral arrangements on your behalf.

What happens after we have been notified?

If the address of where the deceased person lived is known, we 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.

We will register the death, 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 person’s wishes. We will then take no further action.

What happens to the deceased belongings / estate?

We may be required to search the property of the deceased to establish next of kin / family details and to secure any items of value.

Where there is no next of kin, the estate will be referred to the Government Legal Department (subject to value of estate being in excess of £500 following all funeral costs).  More information can be found on the Government Legal Department website (link opens in new window)

Where the deceased lived in rented accommodation, once are satisfied that there are no items of value, the landlord should take responsibility for clearing the premises at their costs.  If the deceased lived in a care / nursing home, the home is accountable for the disposal of the effects. 

Public health funerals - Freedom of Information requests

We are often asked for information about public health funerals, people who have died with no known next of kin, bona vacantia estates and estates which have been referred to the Treasury Solicitor, or Duchy of Lancaster or Cornwall.

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