Funerals arranged by the Council

Welfare funerals

Our role in welfare funerals

We have a statutory duty under the provisions of Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 to:

  • undertake the disposal of deceased persons who die in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • either by cremation or burial
  • where no other arrangements have been made

We cannot become involved if:

  • funeral arrangements have already been made
  • or the funeral has taken place

Funeral costs

Anyone giving instructions to a funeral director is responsible for any costs incurred.

If living relatives are unable to pay for the funeral, a funeral payment contribution is available from Jobcentre Plus for those on income related qualifying benefits. (DWP Form SF200).

If there are relatives who are not prepared or able to accept responsibility for the funeral arrangements, then we have a duty to dispose of a deceased person and to recover their costs in making the arrangements.

Assets recovered from a deceased person's property may be sold to assist in the funding of the funeral arrangements. Only in exceptional circumstances will we carry out a welfare funeral for someone with living relatives.

If the deceased made a will, we cannot become involved in the undertaking of the funeral arrangements unless the executor revokes the will.

Recovering funeral costs 

Welfare funeral staff have statutory authorisation to enter a property, under the provisions of section 61(1)(d) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, to ascertain the extent of the estate and to remove any items or assets which may assist in funding the funeral. Generally, after the funeral costs and administration charges have been deducted, any funds, in excess of £500, remaining from a deceased person's estate will be forwarded to the Treasury Solicitor.

Arranging a welfare funeral

We will arrange a cremation and the cremated remains will be strewn in the Garden of Remembrance at Kingston Crematorium unless:

  • it is established that the religion of the deceased forbids cremation
  • or the deceased expressed a wish, either verbally or written, to be buried

In exceptional circumstances, we may give the cremated remains into the care of a close family member or re-unite them with the remains of a previously deceased close family member.

We will arrange for a minister of religion or a religious representative of the faith of the deceased to conduct the service in accordance with that faith. If a non-religious service is appropriate, then this will be respected.

Our funeral director will provide a dignified funeral with a coffin taken to the crematorium or cemetery in a hearse attended by bearers. We will provide a bouquet of flowers for placing on the coffin.

Last Modified: 18/10/2022 13:18:46