Why are Local Authorities lumbered with caretaking properties?

With housing stock in short supply and Councils’ budgets under pressure, Danny Curran of Finders International says the Government is sitting on hundreds of empty dwellings while leaving local councils with the bill of maintenance. In my line of business, as a professional probate genealogist, I am often asked: What happens to ‘ownerless properties’ i.e. when there is no next of kin to inherit them? In these situations the property reverts to the Crown, or in reality to the Bona Vacantia…

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Statutory regulation for the Funeral Industry draws closer

As reported on the Funeral Service Times website, the National Association of Funeral Directors have given their backing to tighter regulation of the industry following the Competition and Marketing Authority's investigation into practice in the funeral industry. However they oppose any form of price regulation as mentioned in the CMA's interim report last November, stating that "price caps will do nothing to assist funeral affordability for the poorest in society". Read more in the article on…

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Changes to Grants of Probate Certificates

From today (Monday 4th March) HMCTS will be issuing new style Grant of Probate certificates, old style certificates will still be valid. The new certificates have counter-fraud measures designed to clamp down on misuse of the forms. These include the addition of a hologram, a digital seal, a digital signature and a validation telephone number for people to call. Click on the link below to see what has changed and what to expect from the new forms. HMCTS Guide to New Grants

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Rise in Public Health Funerals puts even greater pressure on hard pressed local authorities

A recent survey of 70% of local authorities revealed that almost £5.5m was spent on Public Health Funerals in the year ending April 2018.  During this period in excess of 3,800 people received a Public Health Act (PHA) funeral from a local authority. Almost a third of these funerals were arranged as a result of bereaved families not being able to afford the cost of the funeral. 275 of 390 authorities responded to the survey, conducted by Royal London, meaning that a further 30% of local…

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London PHA Funeral conference, a huge success

Wednesday 28th November – Delegates hail conference a huge success. The Finders International London PHA Funerals Conference took place at the Park Plaza, Waterloo. Delegates from across England and Wales gathered to discuss the issues that affect every council who undertakes Public Health Act Funerals. Those attending heard from speakers on a wide range of subjects such as dealing with bereavement, funeral poverty, the changing face of funerals and what happens at a coroners inquest. The…

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Increase in burial costs behind surge in ‘pauper’s funerals’

These services – officially known as public health funerals – are council-funded services held when the deceased’s family either cannot be found or are unable to meet the burial costs. According to a report considered by the overview and scrutiny committee on Monday, Wealden District Council organised and paid for 16 such funerals last year. Council officer Catherine Beaumont said: “We certainly have noticed, over the last five or six years, a gradual increase in the number of these public…

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Daily Mirror highlights Funeral Poverty issues

The Daily Mirror has recently highlighted the growing issue of Funeral Poverty and how it can affect individuals. The article, published on the 10th July, highlights the issues that surround the death of a loved one and the problems it can leave bereaved families with the rising costs of funeral provision. Read the full article here Daily Mirror Article

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ICCM Public Health Act Funerals Policy Statement

Following recent media reports on provision of PHA funerals the ICCM has published a policy statement on their website outlining the duties of each local authority providing PHA Funerals. The statement calls for all local authorities with the statutory responsibility for providing a service to publish their policies on their website, setting out clear guidelines to the public and calling for the words "paupers" and "destitute" to be avoided due to their insensative nature. You can read the…

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Vicar calls for community to ‘come together’

New data has revealed that public health funerals have more than doubled in Barrow. Public Health Funerals - so-called paupers' funerals - doubled in number between the financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18, according to new statistics revealed through a freedom of information request. There were seven paupers' funerals in 2017/18, twice the number recorded in each of the three previous years (three). Of these seven funerals, five were paid for by the local authority, costing Barrow Borough…

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ITN highlight rise in “Paupers” Funerals

ITN highlighted the rise of funerals undertaken by Local Authorities and the difference in services provided by Authorities on their main news bulletins on Friday 15th June. Watch the report and read more about it on the ITV news website. ITV News Report

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