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Public health funerals

Public health funerals

We have a duty to arrange the funeral for a deceased person who has died in our district where no suitable funeral arrangements have been made. During the COVID-19 pandemic period and for the foreseeable future all funerals will be direct cremation. This means there will be no funeral service beforehand and no one present at the cremation.

Unless it is established by the deceased’s will that they have chosen burial for religious, cultural or personal reasons, or if there are any other specific requests detailed in the will. We have written a public health funeral procedure for further information.

We will not part fund a funeral. If funeral arrangements have already been made, such as instructions to a Funeral Director, we will not be responsible for any costs incurred. If you are finding it difficult to pay for a funeral there is financial help in certain circumstances.

The funeral costs are the first expenses claimed on any estate. We are entitled to collect any and all sums of money due to or belonging to the deceased and to sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs of the funeral and expenses.

We refer the remaining estate to the Government Legal Department (bona vacantia estates) if there is no next of kin and the remaining estate is over £500 following the deduction of the funeral and associated costs.

The following information may also be useful

If you are finding it difficult to pay for a funeral you may be able to get help.

You can get a Funeral Expenses Payment if all of the following apply:

  • you get certain benefits or tax credits
  • you meet the rules on your relationship with the deceased
  • you’re arranging a funeral in the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

If the person who died was a war veteran, you may also be able to get help from Veterans UK. You don't have to be on benefits to claim but if you are also claiming a Funeral Expenses Payment it may affect how much you get from the Veterans Agency.

Last updated 14 September 2023