At Finders International we are proud to have been helping the public sector through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last twelve months we have dealt with 531 public sector cases, where the deceased had no estate, but the referring agency needed to trace next of kin. These are known as pro-bono cases.

All work carried out for the public sector where they are faced with providing a statutory funeral under the Public Health Act 1984 is done for free, there is no charge to the referring authority.

Not only will Finders carry out this work for free, we will also subsidise funeral costs if it is proven that the deceased had no next of kin and no estate.

Funeral Fund Help  

Take the case of PW who was referred to Finders in December 2018 by an environmental health department in England. The estate was believed to be insolvent, but the local authority wanted to give the family an opportunity to be informed of PW’s passing and take on the funeral arrangements.

A passport was uncovered which gave his place of birth in South Africa. Records in South Africa are extremely limited, and our agent there was unable to find a matching entry. However, using our access to UK Electoral Rolls, we were able to discover that PW had been living with his parents for many years until their deaths. This enabled us to find their birth and death records and start investigating the wider family.

Both of PW’s parents were unfortunately only children and therefore the Deceased had no cousins

Having exhausted all lines of enquiry, we sent a full report including family tree and supporting documents to the council, detailing our findings. They were then able to proceed with the funeral knowing there were no family to deal with this.

As no entitled relatives could be found, we recommended that the council apply to the Finders International Funeral Fund. This is a charitable fund, which is available to subsidise the cost of funerals to the local authority/NHS Trust, where there are no next of kin. The application was submitted, and a decision was made to reimburse the council for half the funeral costs.

Pro-Bono Help for a Hospital Trust

We dealt with a case from an NHS Trust where the deceased, TC, had a friend listed as his next of kin, but she had not seen TC in years and was not able to arrange his funeral. They believed that the Deceased had an ex-wife and children but had no further information about them. The estate value was unknown.

We were quickly able to trace the ex-wife who confirmed that they were divorced and had no children together. Although she had children of her own when they were together, the Deceased never formally adopted them.

Our research faced an obstacle when we heard a rumour that TC had a possible illegitimate child. However, after thoroughly questioning his family we established that any child of his would have been born outside of marriage, to a mother whose name was unknown. We could therefore concentrate on finding next of kin who were possible to trace: 5 nieces and nephews.

Within a short period of time we were able to provide the hospital with a full family tree and mailing list. On the same day this was reported, the hospital contacted those on the mailing list and found a next of kin who was willing to take over the funeral arrangements. The hospital was relieved of this responsibility and TC was able to be given a more personalised funeral.

These are just a couple of examples of how Finders International can assist local authorities and NHS trusts search for family and relieve the burden of having to provide a statutory funeral.

Finders International trace missing beneficiaries to estates, properties and assets.  To see a full list of our services, please visit our website.  Alternatively, you can contact us via telephone +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email [email protected]