National assistance burials

What is a National assistance burial?

Sometimes, when a person dies, there is no-one available to take responsibility for arranging their funeral. Under the provisions of the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, we have a duty to ensure that anyone who has died, or been found dead in our area, is cremated or buried in any case where it appears to the Council that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been or are being made. People who typically require this type of action are those who die intestate (not having made a Will) and with no next of kin. We are then entitled to recover the funeral costs from the estate of the deceased.

North Kesteven District Council will not part-fund or contribute to the cost of a funeral which has already been organised. It will not become involved if any funeral arrangements have already been made or the funeral has already taken place.

If the deceased died in hospital or ambulance on the way to hospital the hospital authorities would take responsibility.

In cases where there are assets that exceed the cost of the funeral, and where there are no other bills outstanding, any money left will go to the Estates Group within the Bona Vacantia (small receipts) Division of the Treasury Solicitor, in accordance with the rules set down by the Secretary of State. For more information and to view the Treasury Solicitor’s Estates register, please see the page on claiming or referring an unclaimed estate.

Getting help to pay for a funeral

If you are the person arranging a funeral and are on a low income, a funeral payment may be claimed from the Department for Work and Pensions 

For more information call the DWP Bereavement Service on: 

  • Phone: 0845 606 0265
  • Phone: 0845 606 0275 (Welsh)
  • Textphone: 0845 606 0285
  • textphone: 0845 606 0295 (Welsh)

For further information about Funeral Payments, Bereavement Payments and Bereavement Allowances, please visit Benefits and financial support when someone dies on GOV.UK

Freedom of information

Many Freedom of Information requests are received concerning how many national assistance burials have been passed to the Treasury Solicitor. Details of all residents administered by North Kesteven District Council since July 2004 are given. Please refer to this list in the downloads section, which is updated regularly.