The cost of Public Health Act funerals, also known as “Paupers’ funerals”, is on the rise. These are arranged at the council or hospital’s expense when people die with no known next of kin or nobody willing to pay.

Nationally the cost has risen almost 30 per cent to £1.7m in the past four years and could cost in excess of £3.5m by 2022.

A new fund to help pay for these funerals has been launched by well-known heir hunting company, Finders International. Local authorities can apply to the Finders International Funeral Fund for a subsidy towards the cost of their Public Health Funerals. This will be in cases were there genuinely is no survivingnext of kin (rather than next of kin refusing to pay) and Finders International will carry out research for free to confirm this.

Daniel Curran, MD of Finders International and star of the BBC’s Heir Hunters programme said: “It is an unfortunate part of our society that increasing numbers of people are dyingalone and this also leaves the responsibility of arranging and funding the funeral to the Local Authority or hospital.

“The Funeral Fund can help significantly with finance, while also confirming whether or not there are next of kin – free of charge. As part of the service we advise the deceased’s neighbours and friends about the funeral in advance in case they wish to attend. It can also save the council or NHS trust involved a lot of time and, of course, provides access to our professional tracing resources.”

Finders International created the Funeral Fund by donating a percentage of the commission it earns from its next of kin tracing service. The heir hunter company has also deposited £20,000 to launch the service, and pledged to donate a minimum of £10,000 for every subsequent year.

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