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Public health funerals

If a person dies anywhere in Somerset West and Taunton area, without family or funeral instructions, we will arrange and pay for a funeral arrangements.

We will also arrange a funeral if a family refuses to do so. In this case, the family will have no say in any funeral arrangements.

These funerals are known as public health funerals.

Funeral arrangements

If no one is able to arrange the funeral, we will do the following:

  • register the death
  • instruct a funeral director
  • provide a coffin
  • arrange transport for a direct cremation

The cremated remains will be available on request to friends or family members wishing to make their own arrangements for scattering or interment. If no requests are made, the cremated remains will be interred in the garden of remembrance at Taunton Deane Crematorium.

How we pay for the funeral

We recover the cost of all public health funerals from the person's estate. If there isn’t enough money or no money, the cost is bared by the public purse.

How we recover the cost

To help pay for the funeral, we can remove items from the person's home, such as jewellery, and sell them six months after the funeral. If the family has already removed items from the home we will ask them to return them.

Help towards the cost may be available from charities or the Department of Works and Pension Social Fund. We would always encourage family or friends to seek alternative arrangements for financing a funeral. A referral to Somerset West and Taunton Council should be a last resort.

Property and personal effects

We will make sure that property is secured and any keys or belonging are handed to the police or housing provider.

If there is furniture or other personal belongings, the estate or the owner of the property will normally meet the cost of clearing the property. Property should not be removed from the house unless legal authority says they can do so.

If, after the funeral costs, there is still some money left (over £500); we will tell the Treasury Solicitor.