A pauper’s funeral can occur when either no next of kin for the deceased can be traced or if the family of the person who has died is unwilling or unable to cover the costs of the funeral. Thousands of these kinds of funeral are carried out across the country each year. Examples of when a pauper’s funeral may take place include if a person has been living alone or is homeless or is estranged from any known relatives. If the deceased has no estate (which is often used by families to recover funeral costs) then relatives may not be able to afford to pay for one. In this scenario, they are required to state in writing that they are not willing to organise it.

In these situations, the local authority has a statutory duty to organise a funeral for the deceased person. Whilst the exact processes for how these funerals are arranged differ between different authorities, all have a duty to provide one for someone who has died with their boundary. A pauper’s funeral is very simple and does not include viewings, an obituary or flowers. The person is usually cremated, although in some circumstances they may be buried if they have made a specific written wish for this to happen. If a burial takes place, then a service by the graveside will take place before a committal. The burial may be in a public grave or in a grave connected to their family if the authority in question has identified one.

Joseph C Roberts is an independent family funeral director based in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. We support families through each step of the funeral process with qualified staff available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about the services we can provide or to discuss your personal requirements please get in touch with us on 01423 887824.

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