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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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May I have an advice on Public Health (Control of Disease)

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May I have an advice on Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984? It's related to statutory funerals.

The Lambeth council officer are trying to force me to pay for the funerals of my deceased relative upfront. The relative did not leave any estate and I'm not able to pay for funerals. Nevertheless they insist that funerals will take place if I pay upfront £1000-1300.


Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What is your relationship with the deceased and what benefits do you receive (if any)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I'm here son-in-law. Her daughter is my wife. We are both employed and thus not qualified for DWP benefits/help.

My mother-in-law has died in a care centre. Her staying here was partly paid for from her state pention+pention credit. The rest was covered by Lambeth Social Services, who actually organised her staying there.

I was her appointee to deal with her pension, pension was paid to my account, so Lambeth sent be 4-week bills and I paid what was due. She did not have any other sources of income or any savings or properties.

We have explained to Lambeth that we are not able to pay for funeral. They said that in that case a "statutory funeral" should be done, but they insisted that we have to pay the cost of funeral upfront - as we are "next-of-kin" They sited Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. However I'm (after reading the Act) not convinced that their interpretation was correct. They have also made a contradictory statement that "if Lambeth pay for funeral then the ashes can only be claimed by relatives, if they paid full cost, but that decision can be made within a year from the cremation date. So if you kindly explain us what our rights are and what Lambeth can and cannot do according to the Law.

Thanks a lot!

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Simply long wait
My apologies for the delay
You cannot be forced to pay for the Funeral at all
It is the duty of the Council to arrange the funeral and recover money from the estate if at all possible
Although the Lambeth website only gives the highlights then website of Brighton and Hove gives more information about what the Council responsibilities are
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Here are 3 quotes from my correspondence with Lambeth:

1. "All of our Statutory funerals where there are no next of kin are first paid by the council and then we endeavour to recover costs from the deceased's estate.

In this current financial climate we cannot cover all costs for all statutory funerals as we have a restricted budget."

2. " Whether the funeral took place at Mortlake or Hendon a contribution or full payment would need to be made, we do not carry out this service for free as we have to pay the Undertaker and crematorium"

3. "Under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 we will recover the costs involved in arranging the funeral from the estate of the deceased or Next of Kin."

We are under the impression that Lambeth is trying to get a contribution upfront - no matter what, which we cannot afford - at least at the moment. The statement of recovering the costs from Next of Kin is quite scaring; however I do think that it's a misinterpretation of the law. Anyway, please tell me please what do you think about the statements above.


1. Is accurate
2, You certainly cannot decide any details of the funeral unless you pay for it
3. They could only recover the money from you if you were liable to maintain the person at the time of their death - and you weren't!
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