North East Lincolnshire Council

National assistance burials

Where an individual dies intestate and/or without next of kin to manage their estate the council may be asked to arrange the funeral. This is known as a national assistance burial.

As part of this process we may also pass details of the individual’s estate to the Treasury Solicitor. The Treasury Solicitor Bona Vacantia division collects information for the purposes of dealing with the administration of the estates of persons who die intestate and without known next of kin, and who hold estates worth more than £500.

In the relevant documents section at the bottom of this page we publish the details of all deaths reported to the Treasury Solicitor, where no next of kin have been identified. These details are updated monthly.

If you believe you may be related to one of the individuals named in the list, or you are a solicitor acting on behalf of a relative, please contact us on customer.requests@nelincs.gov.uk or by phone on 01472 326300.

The council has the responsibility of dealing with the funeral arrangements, either by cremation or burial, under the provisions of Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 in the following situations – when:

  • there are no relatives or friends able to pay for it;
  • the deceased has died without leaving a will; and
  • the deceased has died within North East Lincolnshire.

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.

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 on the Gov.uk – Funeral payments website.

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.

Our officers have statutory authorisation to enter a property, under the provisions of section 61(1)(d) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, to ascertain the extent of the estate and to remove any items or assets which may assist in funding the funeral. 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.

Keys to the deceased property should not be left with neighbours or any other person but handed either to a Coroner’s Officer, Police Officer or relevant housing association. 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.

Generally, 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.

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 (i.e. if the occupant was a known drug user, general cleanliness etc.) in order that appropriate arrangements may be made for the safety of staff who will be required to enter the property.

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.

If you believe you may be related to one of the individuals named in the list, or you are a solicitor acting on behalf of a relative, please contact us using the contact details at the bottom of the page.

In order to establish who will be responsible for undertaking the funeral arrangements, the Coroner’s Office will place an advertisement in a relevant local newspaper asking for any next of kin to come forward. Council Enforcement Officers will make enquiries where relevant and appropriate with the landlord of the property, Medical Centres and neighbours etc.

A full search of the premises where the deceased person formerly resided, if appropriate, will need to be made to establish whether there are any next-of-kin. If the deceased resided in a hospital, care or nursing home, prior to death and without a private address, then there may be no property to search. However, any retained personal papers will require careful examination to establish whether next-of-kin are able to arrange the funeral. Whilst the majority of people may be organised in the retention of legal papers, correspondence, bills, diaries etc., others are not. In many cases important documentation is put aside for safekeeping in unconventional places and a full search of the property, therefore, needs to be made.

A funeral will be arranged as soon as possible from the time of death. Between the time of death and time of the funeral the body of the deceased will be kept at the mortuary if the coroner is involved. If the coroner is not involved arrangements will be made for the funeral director to take the deceased to the funeral parlour.

Cremation is always the first option unless it is stated in documents the preference is burial or it is the religious belief of the deceased.
A funeral will be arranged by the Council at Great Grimsby crematorium with the deceased remains being scattered in the grounds of the Crematorium 7 days after the funeral taking place.

No arrangements will be made for a minister of religion or a religious representative of the faith of the deceased to be present to conduct the service.

The council’s appointed Funeral Director will provide a dignified funeral and will deliver the coffin to the Crematorium and will close the curtains whilst the music is playing. If available, the Cemeteries & Crematorium Registrar would also attend.

When does the council take on the role of arranging a funeral?
We will take on this role if the person did not pass away in the hospital.

When the council is unable to locate the family, who would normally attend the funeral?
The appointed Funeral Director will deliver the coffin to the Crematorium and will close the curtains whilst the music is playing. If available, the Cemeteries & Crematorium Registrar would also attend.

What are the factors for deciding whether the funeral should be a cremation or burial?
Cremation is always the first option unless it is stated in documents the preference is burial or it is the religious belief of the deceased.

Where do cremations take place?
Great Grimsby Crematorium

Which cemeteries do the council use?
Scartho Road or Cleethorpes Cemeteries

How long does it take to arrange the funeral from the time of death?
Normally a funeral will be arranged with in a week.

Between the time of death and time of the funeral where is the body of the deceased kept?
The body will be kept at the mortuary if the coroner is involved. If the coroner is not involved arrangements will be made for the funeral director to take the deceased to the funeral parlour.