If you are having problems paying for a funeral, assistance may be available.
Funeral payments and Social Fund
The next of kin may be entitled to a funeral payment from the Social Fund if they are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment & Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Working Tax Credit which includes a disability
- Child Tax Credit if your reward is high enough
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
Public health funerals
We will arrange a public health funeral when someone dies with
- no known next of kin
- no suitable funeral arrangements
Before we make any arrangements we will try to look for the next of kin. We recover the funeral expenses from the deceased’s estate to limit the cost to the people of Trafford. We have a duty to bury or cremate a person who has died where no arrangements have been made under Section 46 (1) of the Public Health Act 1984.
Roles and responsibilities
Registering the death
The next of kin should register the death or someone who knew them. If no next of kin can be located Trafford Council will register the death.
Searching for next of kin
In order to identify next of kin Trafford Council will complete a search of the deceased persons property, we will try to locate:
- a will
- documents to find any next of kin
- finances to help pay for a the funeral
If a will is located, we will ask the executor to make the funeral arrangements in line with the deceased’s wished. The executor is the person responsible for looking after the estate of the deceased. The Council will then take no further action.
If no will is located, the Council will refer the details to a genealogy research company to assist with finding relatives. If we find details of any family and friends, we tell them about the death and ask them to undertake the funeral arrangements.
Arranging the funeral
We make funeral arrangements with a funeral director who has a contract with the Council. The service will be simplistic and dignified, it will usually take place early in the morning. If anyone wishes to arrange for a minister or officiant to take the service they may be able to do so at their own expense.
Paying for the public health funeral
We pay for the funeral from the estate of the deceased. If there are insufficient funds in the deceased’s estate we try other options.
Before we arrange a funeral, we will ask any next of kin to prove that they cannot pay for the funeral.
Property and belongings of the deceased person
- We will make the property secure. Any keys or property that belonged to the deceased must be given to the Council for safekeeping.
- You must not remove items from the property unless you have legal authority to do so.
- When it is confirmed that we are arranging the funeral we have the first claim on the estate.
- If the property is owned the case will be transferred to a solicitor to deal with the estate.
- We cannot arrange to dispose of furniture or the personal belongings of the deceased. The estate or the owner of the property should pay for clearing the property.
- We will refer the case to the Duchy of Lancaster if there is money left after funeral expenses are paid and there is no-one to inherit it.