What to do when someone passes away
Funerals can be expensive, so it is important to identify how the arrangements will be financed.
It would be worth checking to see if the deceased has:
· Contributed to a scheme to pay for the funeral
· Purchased a pre-paid funeral plan
· A cremation society certificate
· Insurance policies or details of an occupational pension scheme.
Help if you receive certain benefits
If the person arranging the funeral is in receipt of certain benefits, they may be able to get help with their expenses - called a Funeral Expenses Payment. If you are not eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment, additional advice can be sought from the Money Advice Service
Payment from the estate of the deceased
Normally the bank account of the deceased will be frozen (unless it is a joint account) however, building societies and National Savings may release sums of money to pay for funeral expenses. As they have no legal obligation to release such funds, they may require grant of probate or letters of administration to have been obtained.
Employer's pension schemes or personal pensions
Some pension schemes provide a sum to be paid out to cover funeral expenses upon death. Find out if there was a pension due to be paid on retirement from a previous employer.
Some employers provide occupational pension schemes that pay a lump sum to help with funeral costs, and sometimes pension benefits for widows or other survivors. Check to see if the deceased had ever belonged to this type of scheme.
If you have difficulty in finding the employer (or whoever has taken over responsibility for the pension), you may be able to locate it through the government website - Find Pension Contact Details
Other pensions and payments
There may be pensions or lump sums payable from the deceased's trade union, professional body or other association, or from a provident club which pays a benefit when a member dies - contact them directly to find out.
Help from the hospital
The health board may arrange for the funeral of someone who dies in hospital if the deceased's relatives cannot be traced or cannot afford to pay for it, however they may make a claim on the deceased's estate to pay for it.
Help from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Under The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has a duty to bury or cremate a person who has died in their area where no arrangements have been made and the deceased's relatives cannot be traced. We are empowered to recover costs from any estate of a deceased person. Any remaining funds then passes to the Treasury.
Long-term help for the family
There are various Social Security benefits that can help when someone dies - contact your local office for advice.