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What To Do When Someone Dies

The Funeral Guide website provides steps of what to do when someone passes away. It also details what you need to do based on where the person has passed away, and how to arrange a funeral.

If you instruct them to do so, funeral directors will liaise directly with us for burials or interments taking place in one of our four cemeteries. However, you don’t have to use a funeral director. The Natural Death Centre and Funeral Guide websites provide help on how to organise a funeral.

Financial help

If someone in your family dies, it can cause money problems. This may only be for a short time, while you wait for their estate to be distributed, or you may require longer term help.

It can be upsetting to see how much a funeral can cost. However, there are ways to reduce the costs and there are various resources to help with paying for a funeral. Government funding, charitable funding, crowdfunding, and funeral finance repayment schemes can all help.

There are also lower cost funeral options including a cremation without a service (a direct cremation). You can also use comparison sites to compare prices of funeral directors.

What if there are no relatives?

If there is no will and the person who dies has no surviving next of kin, the estate will pass to the crown. For more information please contact Bona Vacantia.

If there is no family or other agency to make suitable funeral arrangements, the council will arrange a cremation (or burial if that is the wishes of the deceased), as part of its public health duties (Section 46 of the 1984 Public Health Act). This will not apply if the person died in hospital and it will only occur if we establish there is no other alternative, following a thorough investigation.

We will recover any expenses from the deceased person's estate, or from anyone responsible for the deceased prior to their death. The first claim on the deceased's estate is for funeral expenses. We have no powers to accept responsibility after private funeral arrangements have been made.

Please see our Public Health Funerals Policy [pdf] 149KB  for more information.

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