Blackpool Council may, by law, arrange the funeral of anyone who dies within the district boundary when there is no one available to take responsibility for the funeral.
This does not apply to anyone who dies in hospital or in an ambulance on the way to hospital. In these circumstances, the responsibility lies with the health authority.
Arrangements for public health funerals
Where it appears that no suitable arrangements are being made by relatives or friends of the deceased, the council's bereavement service will make arrangements for a funeral and, where possible, reclaim the costs incurred from the deceased’s estate.
Officers from the council's bereavement team may conduct a search of the deceased’s property (or room in a care home) with a view to finding details of their next of kin, a will, their bank or building society details, or any assets.
The first claim on any estate is the funeral costs and therefore we are permitted to sell any items of monetary value, if necessary, to recover the costs of the funeral.
If we make arrangements for a funeral, it will be simplistic and take place at 9.00am. We are unable to purchase extra items such as hiring limousines for attendees. The service will remain dignified and will be accompanied by appropriate music. Once the deceased has been cremated, the remains will be scattered in the rose garden at Carleton. If other arrangements are required by family or friends for the scattering of the ashes then a charge for the removal of the remains will be made.
We will normally opt for cremation unless a will is found which may indicate the deceased requested a burial or other type of funeral.
Please note that in cases where we take responsibility for the funeral arrangements, we do not administer the estate and are unable to make any payments on behalf of the deceased.
Notifying the council
Normally, the Coroner informs of a death in the above circumstances. If the deceased’s last address was a care home, a member of staff from the home may contact us.
I am a next of kin but I can’t afford the funeral arrangements
If you are in receipt of benefits, you may be able to claim a funeral payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. You can apply any time after the date the person has died and up to 3 months after the date of the funeral.
If the house belonged to the deceased and there are no next of kin, or there is money in the estate, then this will be referred to the Duchy of Lancaster. If the deceased lived in a rented property, the landlord is responsible for the personal effects and their disposal.
Blackpool Council has a nominated funeral director. If anyone other than this funeral director is asked to make arrangements, the council cannot be responsible for any costs incurred up to that point.
If there is a will
If a Will is found then we will inform the executor about the death. It will then become the responsibility of the executor to administer the estate and arrange the funeral.
Further information and advice
If you have any further questions, please call the bereavement team on 01253 882541.