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Support with arranging a funeral

The UK Government offer a national Funeral Expenses Payment that can provide financial assistance to support family or friends with the costs of a funeral.

The Government have issued guidance on how residents can access this at http://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments. Alternatively, residents can call Freephone 0800 731 0468.

Funeral Expenses Payments can help with some of the costs of the following:

  • burial fees for a particular plot
  • cremation fees, including the cost of the doctor’s certificate
  • travel to arrange or attend the funeral
  • the cost of moving a body within the UK, if moved more than 50 miles
  • Death certificates and other documents

When will the Council arrange a funeral? 

When someone dies within the borough boundary of Camden and there is no one willing or able to arrange the funeral, the Council is responsible.

This responsibility is placed on the Council under S46 (Section 46) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. Section 46 of the Act also states that the Council may recover their costs incurred in making the funeral arrangements from the estate of the deceased where applicable.

If the deceased resided in Camden but died outside of the borough then arrangements are the responsibility of the Local Authority where they died.

Camden is unable to become involved in any funeral arrangements that have already been made.  This is because Local Authorities do not have the power to reimburse costs where a third party has already arranged the funeral or a funeral has already taken place.

Where the deceased has no estate the Council’s contracted funeral directors will provide a simple but dignified service, including a coffin, transportation in a hearse to the crematorium or cemetery and sufficient bearers to transfer the coffin to the chapel. This will be in line with the deceased's wishes wherever possible.  Flowers are not included within the cost for a public health funeral.

In these instances, the funeral director will arrange for a minister of religion or a representative of the faith of the deceased to officiate at the service. If a non-religious service is appropriate, a civil funeral celebrant will be used. Friends, family and carers will be advised of the date, time and place so that they can attend. 

In instances whereby the deceased’s estate has sufficient funds, a private funeral will be arranged. Camden will not undertake funeral arrangements where the deceased left a will and the executor is traced.

How to arrange a Section 46 public health funeral

A Section 46 funeral is normally arranged via referral by official sources such as H.M Coroner, University College Hospital, Marie Curie Hospice, residential homes, hostel accommodation, social workers and sometimes GPs. 

For further advice and support in this area please call 020 7974 4000 (option 1) and ask to speak to someone about arranging a public health funeral.

Restrictions of Section 46 public health funeralsSection 46 public health funerals do have certain restrictions, for example:

Location, date and time of service

  • public health funerals take place on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
  • if the service is to be a cremation it will take place at 9.30am or 10.15am at Islington Crematorium, High Road, East Finchley, N2 9AG
  • if the service is to be a burial it will take place at 9.30am or 10.00am in the Islington & Camden Cemetery Chapel, High Road, East Finchley, N2 9AG followed by the interment at 10.20am.

The London Borough of Camden does not have the facility for mourners to pay their last respects in the chapel of rest

Any mourners wishing to pay their last respects must contact either the hospital in which the deceased passed away or H.M Coroner’s office to arrange a visit to their chapel.

Further information on public health funerals

Government 'best practice' guidance on arranging public health funerals was published in September 2020. 

Public health funerals: good practice guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Other funeral options

For a reduced fee, many funeral directors offer the option of a direct cremation with no mourners in attendance or a simple funeral where mourners can attend - these normally take place early morning.

  • Direct cremations are available at Islington Crematorium with no mourners in attendance.
  • Golders Green Crematorium offers the option of a direct cremation with mourners in attendance at 9.00am and 9.30am in both the East and West Chapel and at 10.00am in the East Chapel.

Further information about help paying for a funeralThe Money Advice Service also has some information about other help you may be able to get in relation to paying for funerals. 

Information can be found at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/help-paying-for-a-funeral.

Other websites that may be able to provide useful information and advice about funeral costs include:

Beyond Life

Turn2us

Co-op Funeralcare

 

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