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Arranging a burial or cremation

Public health burials

We have a responsibility to arrange a funeral for anyone who dies (excluding if they die in hospital) when no other suitable arrangements can be made. This usually means:

  • when no relatives can be found or
  • there are no relatives willing or able to make arrangements

If any funeral arrangements have already been made, such as instructions to a funeral director, we will not be responsible for any costs incurred. You may be able to get a Funeral Payment to help pay for costs if you're on a low income and claiming certain benefits.

We will arrange a basic funeral at a local cemetery, carried out by a contract funeral director. There will be no ceremony, cars, flowers or memorial opportunities. 

Reclaiming costs

Someone from our Environmental Health team will visit the last known address of the person. Under the Funerals Made Under The Public Health Act 1984, we can claim funeral costs (including selling any belongings) from the estate. 

If the person didn't leave a will and there is no known next of kin, we will refer estates with money over £500 (minus our costs) to the Treasury Solicitor.

See a register of public health burials

To find out more about public health burials please contact our Environmental Health team.