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The care home environment – Tracing Unknown Next Of Kin

Daisy Staines

Pictured above: Daisy Staines

The recent case of 104 year old Daisy Staines, who died in a care home in Essex and had no known next of kin to attend her funeral, highlights the increasing prevalence of people outliving their immediate relations.

Mrs Staines, who never had children, is the latest in a growing number of people who die without any known living relatives. Research by Sheffield Hallam University has shown that two per cent of over 65s die without any family and by 2030, there will be two million people aged over 65 without adult children.

In Daisy’s case, an appeal by the care home to find relatives resulted in professional probate genealogist, Finders International, stepping in to identify relatives in time to attend her funeral. Finders International also worked on the case of World War Two veteran James Douglas Knowles, 91, who passed away at Eastbourne District General Hospital in 2017, following an appeal by a local clergyman. Again the team successfully located relatives of Mr Knowles.

In both cases next of kin of the deceased, albeit distant relatives, were located within a 48 hour period. This ‘tracing next of kin service’ is provided free to nursing homes, care and residential homes as well as NHS trusts when a resident or an inpatient dies and there is no known next of kin.

Danny Curran says: “We have worked on numerous cases for trusts and nursing homes wishing to establish if there are any next of kin. The main advice when someone dies in care or a hospital with no known next of kin is firstly to search personal belongings, to look for a will or any documentation, check medical records, admission documentation and speak to friends of the deceased, where appropriate, to enquire about next of kin.

“If none of this bears fruit, it is worth contacting a professional probate genealogist firm, who can, in most cases, locate next of kin relatively quickly.”

This article was first featured in the thecarehomeenvironment