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The Heir Hunters®

Public Health Funerals

The Public Health Act 1984 confers a statutory duty on councils and health boards to cause to be buried or cremated the body of any person who has died or been found dead in their area, in any case where it appears to the authority that no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been or are being made otherwise than by the authority.

These funerals can often be referred to as ‘pauper’s funerals’ and the numbers of such funerals have soared in recent years, thanks to rising funeral costs and the increase in people dying alone.

Finders International are an heir hunting firm who are offering hard pressed Local Authorities and NHS Trusts a subsidy payment towards the cost of providing public health funerals. An authority has to make an application to Finders Funeral Fund for the payment and use Finders International to trace relatives. When the estate is over £5,000 Finders may charge the next of kin a commission fee however this is not a hard and fast rule and sometimes Finders do not charge any fees.

The Heir Hunters® believe that there are occasions when it is not in the interests of the next of kin for public bodies to have exclusive arrangements with individual probate research companies. Local Authorities should be required to refer such cases direct to the Treasury.

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