National assistance funerals
A national assistance burial is when a person dies intestate (without a Will) or has no known next of kin, and the council may be asked to arrange the funeral.
The council publishes all the reported deaths where no next of kin has been identified. If you believe you may be related to one of the deceased individuals listed, please contact the Bereavement Services 01472 324869.
Tracing next of kin
When the council is notified of an individual passing away intestate and/or without any next of kin we will make the following enquiries in order to try and trace their next of kin.
The Coroner’s Office will place an advertisement in a relevant local newspaper asking for any next of kin to come forward.
We will make enquiries where relevant and appropriate with the landlord of the property, Medical centres and neighbours.
Property and goods belonging to the deceased
Council officers will visit the deceased’s property and determine the extent of the estate and will remove any items or assets which may assist in funding the funeral.
After the funeral costs and administration charges have been deducted, any funds in excess of £500 remaining from a deceased person’s estate will be forwarded to the Treasury Solicitor.
Ownerless properties and goods are given the name ‘Bona Vacantia’, which by law means it belongs to the crown. The Treasury Solicitor works on behalf of the crown to administer the estates of people who die intestate or has no known next of kin to the HM Treasury.
If the Coroner is involved, then a Coroners Officer should have previously removed any valuables, money, benefit books and official documents whilst undertaking their initial investigations into the persons death. If personal belongings of the deceased are misplaced, then the key holder will be liable. If it appears that our officers will become involved in undertaking the funeral arrangements, then any items removed from the property, together with keys will need to be retained by the council. The premises must always be made secure.
The council’s responsibility
The council has the responsibility of dealing with the funeral arrangements when a person dies in North East Lincolnshire and:
- there are no relatives or friends able to pay for it
- the deceased has died without leaving a will
The exception to this is if the person has died at either a hospital run by an NHS trust or at a care home run by North East Lincolnshire Council. In these circumstances, responsibility for the funeral arrangements can be on those respective organisations.
The council cannot become involved if funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has taken place. Anyone giving instructions to a funeral director will be responsible for any costs incurred. If the deceased made a will, the council cannot become involved in the undertaking of the funeral arrangements unless the executor revokes the will.
If there are relatives who are not prepared or able to accept responsibility for the funeral arrangements, then the council has a duty to make the arrangements.
Department for Work and Pensions
If there are relatives who are supported by benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), then financial assistance for the funeral can be made by applying to the DWP Social Fund or by visiting the Jobcentre Plus website and download form SF200 ‘Assistance with funeral payments’.
More information can be found at Gov.uk – Funeral payments .
If there are relatives not supported by benefits from the DWP, as next of kin they should undertake the funeral without the council’s involvement.
Property owners and landlords
Landlords must not enter the premises or remove any items from the property until our officers have completed their enquiries. In normal circumstances, this will be undertaken without delay and the keys subsequently returned to the property owner, who is responsible for clearing the premises previously occupied by the deceased.
Our officers will need to be advised of the condition of the property (for example if the occupant was a known drug user) in order that appropriate arrangements may be made for the safety of staff who will be required to enter the property.
Bereavement Services, Great Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Avenue, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN32 0BA
Telephone: 01472 324869
Opening times: Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4:45pm and Friday 9am to 4:15pm, except bank holidays