Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, local authorities have a statutory duty to provide suitable funeral arrangements for persons who have died intestate within their boundaries where there is seemingly no one else willing or able to make funeral arrangements. This is known as a public health funeral.

Finding next of kin

We have encountered these situations hundreds of times before, and in the vast majority of cases have been able to locate at least one living relative. Our commitment is to transparency, and we always endeavour to be as responsive as we can be. We are also fully insured.

The ultimate aim of our genealogical research is to locate and contact family members (blood relatives) as soon as possible. This approach allows the relatives traced the opportunity to attend or even take on the responsibility of the funeral, as well as the option of dealing with the administration of the estate.

By successfully locating the next of kin, it provides them with the option to make the funeral arrangements which would therefore no longer be the local authority’s responsibility (unless they chose not to take this on), saving both time and resources.

Why work with us?

You can be sure that we will do all we can to find relatives, even if we have to go that extra mile. In the rare instances where there ultimately turns out to be no next of kin, we will report this to you as soon as we can, once we have 100% confirmed the facts.

Key benefits of using us include:

  • We undertake our research at no cost to the public sector body
  • We are committed to being proactive and tenacious in our work
  • We will report back to you as soon as we have any confirmed news
  • We always deal with matters in a sympathetic yet professional manner

Research that can be relied upon

You will be in safe hands with us; we are an international professional genealogy and heir location firm, and we employ more accredited genealogists and legally qualified or regulated staff than any UK research firm.

Tracing next of kin is the core pillar of our company – it is something we undertake every day, whether on behalf of a public sector body, a legal firm, a financial institution or on cases we choose to pursue from the Unclaimed estate list published by the Government’s Legal Department.

In addition, we have long been at the forefront of driving greater transparency and best practice in this sector. We believe in putting relatives first.

Get in contact

We make working with us as easy as possible and instructing us could not be simpler. We are willing to consider being part of a panel too, whatever works best for you. Just hit the contact us button below or give us a call on 01473 350 350 to find out how we can help you.

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Case manager Eileen Butcher discusses a public health funeral case where the estate turned out to be much larger than expected

Gerald Howell had died intestate with no known relatives. As with many local authority cases, we had no idea of the size of his estate, all we knew was that he lived in social housing, so it was likely to be small or non-existent.


Typically, if the deceased had no children or siblings, and you track back to their parents’ generation when families were much larger, you are looking at a great deal of research. This is because every stem has to be investigated if the estate is to be distributed correctly.


In Gerald’s case, his mother’s family tree involved only three stems – three maternal siblings – but there were seven on the paternal tree, which also had to be researched. We managed to establish that most of the ten stems had died out before we tracked down three of Gerald’s paternal cousins.

At this point, there was still one other stem on the paternal family tree that we couldn’t be 100% certain had died out. So, once the council had recouped the funeral expenses, and a personal representative had been appointed, we advised him to take out missing beneficiary indemnity insurance so that he could confidently distribute what turned out to be a £30,000 estate.

(For reasons of confidentiality, names and other identifying features have been altered.)

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Why have we contacted you?

If we have contacted you it is because we believe you are entitled to a share of an inheritance. You may wish to take legal advice, but do get back to us as soon as you can.

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Our accredited genealogists offer accessible, transparent, and confidential services that are regulated by the Professional Paralegal Register.

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