We arrange the burial or cremation of a person who dies 'intestate' within North Yorkshire. Intestate means without known relatives or if the next of kin is unable to either finance or arrange the burial.
If the deceased has passed away outside North Yorkshire it is the responsibility of the council where they have died to deal with the welfare funeral.
If the deceased person died in a hospital managed by an NHS trust and no relatives can be traced or relatives are unable to afford the cost of the funeral themselves or they do not qualify for a Social Fund Funeral Payment, then the bereavement officer at the hospital in which the person died will take responsibility for the funeral.
Department for Work and Pensions
If there are relatives who are supported by benefits form the Department of Work and Pensions, then financial help for the funeral can be made by applying to the Department of Work and Pensions Social Fund. Details regarding eligibility and how to claim can be found on their website.
We 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 there are any financial limitations then it is sensible to inform the funeral director at an early stage when arranging a funeral.
Property belonging to the deceased
We have statutory authorisation to enter a property 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's property should not be left with neighbours or any other person but handed either to a coroners officer or a police officer. If personal belongings of the deceased are misplaced, then the key holder will be liable.
Landlords must not enter the premises or remove any items from the property until we have completed our 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.
The officers need to be advised of the condition of the property (for example, if the occupant was a known drug user, general cleanliness) in order that appropriate arrangements may be made for the safety of staff who will be required to enter the property.
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.
Treasury Solicitor and disclosure of information
'Bona vacantia' is the legal term relating to the situation in which a person dies without leaving a will and there is no known next of kin to take ownership of the property and possessions ("the Estate") belonging to that person. This is also known as dying intestate.
We inform the Treasury Solicitor's Department of all bona vacantia cases, including the name, date of death and area of death of the deceased person.
The Treasury Solicitor then administers the Estate of the deceased person and publishes such cases, including some of the details of the deceased person, on their website.
All information that may be disclosed by the council pursuant to a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in relation to a deceased person is available from the Treasury Solicitor's website.
What information can we provide?