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JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12088
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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Good morning, I have a a few questions regarding the death

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Good morning, I have a a few questions regarding the death of my brother's (unmarried) partner. We are having difficulty finding someone who specialises in all areas to help us.
M passed away on the 28th of December without a will. She was a Malawi national. She had stated, but not in writing that she wished to be buried in the UK. M's mother, who now resides in South Africa demanded her repatriation to Malawi.
In order to not upset the mother my brother agreed to not fight against repatriation. We told the family that there was money in the estate to pay for the funeral/repatriation, but that we could not access these funds, they would have to work with the funeral directors under the intestacy laws. Unfortunately, my brother had given all his savings to M to look after and the account only has her name on it.
We gave the family the name of a funeral director who has close links to the hospital in which M died, have repatriated people to Malawi in the past and have links to M's church.
The family decided the funeral disrectors were too expensive as they'd found companies offering the service for half price on the internet. We reiterated there was enough in the estate and that they needed to call these internet companies to get true costs. The family eventually began liaising with the fineral directors. The family then decided they didn't like the coffins on offer for repatriation.
My brother is completely devasted by the fact that M is still in the hospital mortuaty and not laid to rest. The funeral directors spoke to their solicitors who said that my brother would not be prosecuted if he buried M here. My brother asked for confirmation from the solicitors in writing. Yesterday they came back and said it was getting too complicated and they could no longer help.
We are now at an impasse as it looks as though my brother is not allowed to bury M here, but the family are not capable of progressing with the repatriation. We have advised them to get a solicitor to help although at this stage any funeral director should be able to walk them through the process now.
Question 1: is there anything we can do or is it possible that we may have to leave M in the hospital morgue for months while the family works out what to do?
Question 2: “our” funeral director, my brother and my sister are receiving regular abusive texts and emails from the extended family here in the UK. Is there anything we can do about this?
Question 3: It is possible to appoint a solicitor as the point of contact between the two families?
Question 4: I am concerned when this stage over the extended family will then request M's personal possessions (there was a a situation 5 years ago when some of the cousins tried to take M's possessions while she was away). Would they be allowed to just turn up on the door and enter the property? It's a rented property in my brother's name. We need advice on how to handle this before it happens.
Thank you for your question.
1. There is a duty upon certain people to dispose of a body after a death. This duty usually falls on the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate, the parents of a deceased child, or the householder upon whose premises the body lies.
It is an offence for any such person, having sufficient means, to fail to discharge this duty.
If they do not have sufficient means, or if a person died alone and without kin, the duty to dispose of the body falls on the local authority.
As the family are abroad and prevaricating I suggest that your brother approaches the local authority and explain this very sad situation and see if they can help by authorising you to arrange the funeral under their auspices.
2. Not really apart from blocking the calls. If it was this country then you could go to court but they are abroad and the courts here have no jurisdiction over them.
3. Your brother can instruct a solicitor to contact them on your behalf. Whether they respond or cooperate is another matter.
4. If your brother is the tenant they would be built of housebreaking if they entered the property. Your brother should express his concerns to the local police in case they do turn up in which case the police will have a record of his concerns.
Happy to discuss further.
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