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Public health funerals

We are responsible for making funeral arrangements for anybody who dies within New Forest where no other arrangements have been made, or are likely to be made.

This may be the case when the deceased has no family and has not left a will.

This responsibility is placed on us by S46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

On this page:

Help with funeral costs

If you and other family members are in receipt of certain benefits, you could be entitled to receive financial help with the cost of the funeral.

Visit the GOV.UK website to find out about Funeral Expenses Payment.

You may wish to consider a direct cremation. This is a low-cost cremation offered at both Southampton and Bournemouth Crematoria, and also by many funeral directors. Direct cremations are carried out in a respectful manner with a standard coffin and bearers. Family members cannot attend but many companies allow ashes to be collected by the family, who can then hold a service of their choice at a later date.

Visit the Money Advice Service for information on how much a funeral costs.

If the family remains unable to provide a funeral, we have a duty to make arrangements for a Public Health Funeral.

Request a Public Health Funeral

If you wish to arrange a Public Health Funeral, contact us to discuss your situation and explore options.

If appropriate, the matter will then be passed to a case officer in our Environmental Protection Team.

Enquiries will be made to ascertain if there is a will. If so, the executor would be expected to make the funeral arrangements, unless they renounce their executorship.

Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, funeral expenses are the first call on any estate. To help offset the costs of a funeral, we are empowered under the act to:

  • collect any and all sums of money due or belonging to the deceased
  • sell any belongings of the deceased.

A property search is usually carried out. Bank details, cash and valuables may be removed from the property.

The next of kin will be asked to sign a form passing responsibility for the funeral to us and acknowledging our right to reclaim reasonable costs.

Cash or valuables must not be removed from the home of the deceased.

A cremation would then be carried out at Bournemouth Crematorium at a suitable date and time. The family do not have a choice of dates.

A simple but dignified service is performed, and flowers may be provided by the family. Ashes may subsequently be collected from the crematorium by the family or strewn in the Garden of Remembrance.

We then recovers our costs from the deceased's estate where possible.

No next of kin

Occasionally, cases are referred to us via the coroner or a care home where there are no next of kin to make the funeral arrangements.

In such cases, the procedure outlined above is followed.

Contact details

You can contact us to arrange a Public Health Funeral or discuss any of the information above.

Contact: Mrs Rebecca Davies


Phone: 02380 285804

Environmental & Regulation Office Manager
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA

Our office hours are:

Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5.15pm

Fridays: 8.45am to 4.45pm

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