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Friend's wife deceased, Social Services issue - help?

(20 Posts)
Allergictoironing Sun 26-Mar-17 13:27:15

My NDN's son (NDNS) separated from his wife about a year ago partly due to her mental problems, but they were still in amicable contact regularly. She was living in some form of sheltered housing, again I gather due to her problems, and he moved in with his mum.

She died very suddenly a few days ago (which he only found out when he tried to phone her mobile!), and he is trying to sort out her affairs including things like her funeral. He isn't the most educated person and is pretty much in pieces, so I went round to try to help him sort things out. Turns out that to do anything he needs her death certificate, which he can't collect until he takes in their marriage certificate and her birth certificate. All fine and as I'd expect - except that Social Services are refusing to let him have any access to her sheltered flat (only her name on it), even if escorted, and that's where her birth certificate is.

So on the one hand he is being told he is responsible for sorting everything out including her funeral (which he can't even get help for as they weren't living together when she died), and on the other he's being told he can't have access to her papers that he needs to get things sorted out.

He tried telling the social services that surely as her next of kin he should have access to the papers, they are refusing but at the same time refusing to tell him even whether she had nominated anyone else to be her next of kin rather than him, though they have admitted that nobody else has come forwards to fill that role. She did have a boyfriend at the time, but he has vanished off the face of the earth and not been seen in town since she died.

I'm at a loss what his next move is; tomorrow he is supposed to be picking up her death certificate but they probably won't release it to him as they asked for her birth certificate, and nothing else can be done without that.

So any advice, experiences of this kind of problem would be much appreciated!

ThatIsNachoCheese Sun 26-Mar-17 13:33:15

He can order a copy of her birth certificate from the GRO website. It costs about £9 for one copy or he can get next day for about £25 if I recall.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Sun 26-Mar-17 13:33:38

I would give non emergency police a call -

EyeStye Sun 26-Mar-17 13:38:13

Copies of marriage and birth certificates can also be obtained from the local registry office if she was born and they were married locally so he might be able to get them urgently there on Monday.

Link to apply online.

It gives a phone number for an urgent copy at the bottom of the page under "other ways to apply"

Alicekeach Sun 26-Mar-17 13:40:52

You don't need birth / marriage certificates to register a death anyway. It can be helpful to have them to refer to, but if he knows all the information anyway (e.g. Date and place of birth, occupation, marital status) then he can register the death without them. (I do this for a living!)

Alicekeach Sun 26-Mar-17 13:42:50

Alicekeach Sun 26-Mar-17 13:44:02

Ps. If he is arranging the funeral he automatically qualifies to register the death, whether they were married or not.

Ahmezia Sun 26-Mar-17 13:52:43


I would give non emergency police a call!!!???

Is that a MN windup? Please tell me you're not being serious!!! Absolutely nothing to do with the Police & haven't you heard they're stretched to the limits and ridiculous calls like this don't help!

Google,CAB yes. Police absolutely not.

titchy Sun 26-Mar-17 14:06:01

Who told him he needed birth and marriage certs? Has the death already been registered? Who did that?

Allergictoironing Sun 26-Mar-17 14:15:08

He has an appointment to register the death tomorrow, the registrar called him directly to say he should be doing it (presumably as her husband?), they were the ones who said for him to bring in the birth & marriage certificates.

He just plain hasn't got the money to pay for the funeral (unemployed himself, and having his own fight regarding ESA assessment despite a doctors certificate), and according to the Jobcentre notes on how to claim for that you need to be actually living with someone to claim as their spouse/partner and they have lived apart for a year.

WeAreEternal Sun 26-Mar-17 14:43:27

"he is being told he is responsible for sorting everything out including her funeral"

Who has told him this?
It's assumed that as next of kin he will take responsibility for sorting out the funeral and the estate but he is not required to do so, he can refuse and leave it to be sorted out by someone else, either someone in her family or someone in an official role at the council will do it if he chooses not to.

WeAreEternal Sun 26-Mar-17 14:46:09

Sorry cross post.

In that case I would advise him to ring the local council and tell them that he is refusing to organise a funeral as he does not have the money and they are separated.
The council will then organise a basic funeral/cremation and he will not be financially responsible for anything.

Stormwhale Sun 26-Mar-17 14:46:33

Has she got no family op? If he can't afford the funeral and there isn't any help available, he needs to look for her family and explain the situation.

imsorryiasked Sun 26-Mar-17 14:50:36

The registrar well have told him to bring in certs "if he has them". If he doesn't then as long as he knows her date of birth etc then it will be fine.
If he doesn't have that info then I would suggest he tells SS he is unable to register the death and as such they will need to deal with it. If he also advises the bereavement office at the hospital where his mum is they will contact SS too. That should hopefully concentrate their minds.

Haffdonga Sun 26-Mar-17 14:53:29

Allergic you sound lovely and kind. It must be traumatic for you to be trying to sort this too. flowers

But wishiwasmoiradingle Police??? FFS how ridiculous. And that's where our taxes go. do you also call an ambulance when you have a headache?

Allergictoironing Sun 26-Mar-17 15:23:15

No family - I gather her only brother died an alcoholic years ago and I often heard her bemoaning she had no family left alive in years gone by.

He has been indicated by social services that he isn't next of kin by the fact that they won't let him into her flat - which I would have assumed they had to if he IS next of kin, though we can't think of anyone apart from her missing boyfriend of a few months duration who she may have said was her next of kin and they flatly refuse to tell him even whether she did name anyone else.

I've already suggested that he tells the council/social services that he has no money and therefore they will have to deal with her funeral. The really annoying thing is that he may well have some money due to him from insurances and her pensions that he could use for a funeral - but until he has her papers I can't even sort that out for him as we need a) the death certificate and b) the provider details - we do have pension details, but again of course need the death certificate for him to claim on them.

His mum he lives with is like an aunt to me, I look on them as family so of course I will help them all I can. But the timing is awful from my point of view - I work in Financial Services so until a little after Tax Year End I'll be doing 12 hour days at work & won't be able to help him except at weekends. At least it means that when he DOES get the death certificate & paperwork I can sort all that side out for him no problem.

OhTheRoses Sun 26-Mar-17 15:33:13

can't you take a day off during the week when things are open and catch up at weekends. I have found the knowledge of funeral directors very helpful in difficult circumstances. For example when it wasn't clear cut whether my father had to have a post mortem or not.

If he may have money due can't you put some up front for him to get some advice from a,solicitor.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Sun 26-Mar-17 15:35:29

i would have thought the SS were being difficult cautious as if he is her NOK then he may have some perceived claim on her home, so they are not giving him access as it may prove difficult to get him out.

What about a local does seem ridiculous he isn't allowed to sort her things out...they may be able to influence any petty jobsworths enforcing these idiotic circular rules

Allergictoironing Sun 26-Mar-17 15:46:26

No chance of any time off until after Tax Year End, we already have one person off sick in a very small office and are absolutely drowning already.

Tondelaya he asked them about being escorted in and them checking every single item he wanted to take with him to ensure that he wasn't taking anything that he didn't absolutely need, but that wasn't acceptable to them. So either they consider him NOK and should therefore release her personal items to him, or he isn't NOK and can't make any claim on the property anyway. But if he isn't NOK, why did the registrar contact him directly as presumably they must have been told he was?

Our MP is totally useless, he isn't a chocolate teapot as at least you can eat those hmm.

whataboutbob Mon 27-Mar-17 21:40:08

If she had the funds in her bank account they should be made available to pay for the funeral. The bank will accept an invoice from the funeral directors and pay them directly. if there are no funds and no family my understanding is the government pays for a "simple funeral".

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