Has anyone given their relative a council funeral?

(8 Posts)
nappyaddict Tue 21-Aug-12 10:08:17

My dad passed away on the 10th August. My mum hasn't been with my Dad for over 6 years but they still lived together as friends and she was planning to care for him when he came out of hospital.

It's a bit of a sticky situation because all of his children from a previous marriage hate our family and me and my sister aren't blood children but he has brought us up from me being 9 months and my sister being 4.

We thought we wouldn't be able to arrange a funeral because they would object but we managed to get the death certificate because we were at the hospital when he died.

To move him to an undertakers his family need the death certificate and they have made no contact with us to try and get it so it looks like they haven't even tried to arrange a funeral for him which makes me sad sad

Even a cheapish funeral is going to cost 3k so I said to my mum and sister that we could each put 1k. I only work part time as a waitress so I was planning on either getting a loan, extending my overdraft or putting it on an interest free credit card. Neither my mum or sister is willing to do this which also makes me sad after everything my Dad did for us, especially when my sister is a teacher and earns double, if not more than what I do. They say Dad wouldn't want us to get into debt to send him off, but I know he would have done it for us. There's no way he would have let us have a council funeral.

I was really upset about it last night so DP said to find out what a council funeral actually consists of before I go getting myself all upset. I have looked on my LA website but all it says is that a car won't be provided for the family.

Can the coffin and hearse go from his house or does it have to go straight from the undertakers?

Are we allowed to buy flowers to put in the hearse?

Will we be allowed to pick hymns, play music and read verses or poems?

OP’s posts: |
curlycreations Tue 21-Aug-12 14:38:39

why dont you phone the undertakers and make enquiries--i am a nurse and through my work i have had to deal with undertakers from many different firms.
they are all very understanding and dont judge -so please dont feel embarrassed the'yll have heard much much worse than your story. good luck

hoops997 Thu 23-Aug-12 20:35:24

Sorry for your loss but you can't choose to have a council funeral, you have to be on certain benefits I think.

Also if you do have a council funeral it's frowned upon spending lots on flowers because if you can afford to spend lots of flowers then you can afford to put some towards his funeral sad

PigletJohn Thu 23-Aug-12 21:00:32

did he leave any money, did he have a will, is there an executor?

If yes, yes and yes, the executor is empowered, and usually requested in the will, to pay for the funeral out of any assets the deceased person had.

It would be shameful if anyone expected to pocket his assets and not pay for the funeral out of them.

I went to the funeral of someone who had fallen out with all his ex-wives and children, none of them would contribute but they all turned up and went to the pub after (where I believe there was a row, or possibly a fight). It was a graveside catholic burial (no church service) and though simple was perfectly decent. I don't think a headstone was included but we went back later and planted a fuschia in the grave.

LineRunner Thu 23-Aug-12 21:06:16

OP, I believe that you are talking about a welfare burial (or a welfare funeral) and you need to ring up your council and ask about this. (You can also google it.) There are restrictions, such as no headstone and, to quote one council,

"The Council has a duty to arrange for the burial or cremation of the body of any person found dead in its area where it appears that no other suitable arrangements will be made for the disposal of the deceased. The Council is usually called upon where people have died without family or friends to make the necessary arrangements. The costs incurred may be claimed from the deceased estate. The council is empowered to recover costs from any estate of the deceased person. Any remaining funds then passes to the Treasury however, often the full costs need to be met by the Council."

nappyaddict Fri 24-Aug-12 11:21:46

There is no will as far as we can see.

My mum is on council tax benefit so I believe she is entitled to claim for a council funeral.

OP’s posts: |
PigletJohn Fri 24-Aug-12 12:16:21

yes, it sounds like she can apply, but they will be entitled to reclaim the cost out of any savings or other assets he may have had. The cost of a funeral is a first claim against the estate. It might be a bit tricky deciding who is entitled to his estate if he was divorced. It might make things easier if the funeral uses it up.

a local funeral director will I am sure be able to advise, so would the CAB.

There are often benefits or pensions that arrive after death and have to be paid back, somebody needs to write to everyone and tell them, with a copy of the death certificate (best to get several spare copies from the Registrar of BMD so you don't part with the original). Nobody has to take on the responsibility of being Executor if they don't want to, but nobody else is entitled to lay their hands on his assets. Often someone who has worked in an office can do it, it's not very difficult but does drag on. A friend or familiy member will often take on the work out of respect.

LineRunner Fri 24-Aug-12 12:41:43

My local council (an English council) also says on its website, which might help you OP,

"It is possible to obtain financial support towards funeral costs if you are in receipt of benefit but this is not the remit of the Council. Any such application should be made to the Department for Work and Pensions."

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