Funerals - Public Health

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The council may arrange a funeral when requested if;

  • The deceased died within the Tonbridge and Malling area and
  • no suitable arrangements for the disposal of the body have been made or are being made.

This responsibility to arrange a funeral is for the protection of health and is provided by law under Section 46 of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984.

When is the Council able to arrange a funeral

We must consider the following questions before arranging a funeral. If you answer yes to any of these questions, we are unlikely to be able to arrange the funeral. If you answer no to all of these questions please review the process the council follows to arrange a funeral.

Did the person die in hospital?

If the deceased died in hospital and there are no relatives or person to arrange the funeral the hospital may assume responsibility for the funeral arrangements. The hospital may recover their expenses from the estate of the deceased (their property and possessions).

Did the person die or was their body found outside of the borough council area?

If the person died or their body was found in another borough council area, regardless of whether they lived within this area, then that council should take responsibility.

Has a funeral director been instructed already?

If you, a family member, or friend of the deceased has already instructed a funeral director or the body is already in a funeral home then it is unlikely that we will become involved, as someone has already taken responsibility.

If you, or the person who instructed the funeral director, are concerned about costs then please discuss this with the funeral director.

Are there any family or close friends who could take responsibility for the funeral?

We appreciate that this can be a sensitive issue for many families.

If cost is a concern then please discuss this with the funeral director at an early stage in the arrangements.

What other support is there for paying for a funeral?

The social fund may be able to help you or a close family member with the costs of arranging a funeral.