Funerals arranged by the council

Warrington Borough Council has a duty to arrange the funeral of any person within the borough who has died or has been found dead, where no suitable arrangements for the funeral have been or are being made.

What happens next?

Unfortunately, no assistance is available from Warrington council if the funeral has already taken place or if someone has already taken responsibility for the funeral.

If a person has died in a hospital ward, the funeral arrangements will be made by the bereavement services at the hospital and not by the council. However, if the person died in accident and emergency, the funeral arrangements would be made by the council.

When the council has been told about a death the deceased persons belongings are collected by the council from the police or whoever else has them.

If the address of where the deceased person lived is known, the council will search their home to try and find a will or any other documents that will tell us if they have any relatives, religious beliefs or funeral preferences.

If details about family and friends are found, they will be told about the death and asked if they want to make the funeral arrangements.

If a will is found the executor (the person who will be responsible for looking after your estate when you die) will be asked to make the funeral arrangements in line with the deceased persons wishes. The council will then take no further action.

Property and belongings of the deceased

In cases where the council have arranged somebody's funeral and there is no will, no known next of kin and there are funds remaining in the deceased persons estate following payment of the funeral expenses, the estate will be referred to The Treasury Solicitor who administers the Estates of Persons who die intestate without next of kin.

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 Solicitors website.

You can also access a list of funerals arranged by the council and/ or estates [pdf] that have recently been referred to The Treasury Solicitor by Warrington Council. This list will be up-dated quarterly.

We currently do not send any information on deceased persons and their estates to the Land Registry.

Do you or your partner receive benefits?

If there are no other family members who could pay for the funeral and you or your partner receive benefits you may be able to get help from the Social Fund towards the cost of a funeral. The qualifying benefits are as follows:

  • Income Support
  • Minimum Income Support for the over 60's
  • Income based job seeker's allowance
  • Working Families' Tax Credit
  • Disabled Person's Tax Credit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Housing Benefit

Currently the Social Fund will help pay towards the Funeral Directors fees. It may also pay the crematorium fee, the cost of the medical paperwork and the fee for the removal of a pacemaker. For a burial it may pay the fee for the exclusive rights of burial of a grave and the burial fee of the cheapest nearby cemetery will be paid. The Social Fund may pay for you to take up to one journey. This could be for the journey to organise the funeral or for the journey to the funeral. It cannot pay for both journeys.

Because the Social Fund may not cover all the costs you should check how much you will be entitled to before you complete the funeral arrangements. At the moment, you must claim the Social Fund within three months of the funeral and your savings will be taken into account.

You will have to repay the grant from the Social Fund if the deceased has left any money, life insurance policies or property.

Your funeral director will be able to give you more information about the Social Fund. For more information and all the relevant forms please visit the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Assistant Director Regulation & Protection is responsible for overseeing public health funerals and referrals to the Treasury Solicitor or Duchy of Lancaster.