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Estates referred to the Treasury Solicitor and public health funerals

Middlesbrough Council has a legal duty to arrange the funeral of any person who has died or been found dead in Middlesbrough where no suitable arrangements for the funeral are being made.

If a person has died in hospital and no next of kin can be found, the funeral arrangements will be made by the hospital and not the council.

Please be aware, no assistance is available from Middlesbrough Council if the funeral has already taken place or someone has already taken responsibility for the funeral.

Before arranging a deceased person's funeral we will make enquiries as to the existence of a will, any relatives who are able to deal with the arrangements, or funds to pay for the funeral. In some cases this will include making a search of the deceased's house.

In cases where we have arranged somebody's funeral and there is no will, no known next of kin and there are funds remaining in the deceased person's estate following payment of the funeral expenses, the estate will be referred to the Treasury Solicitor, who administers the estates of persons who die intestate (without a will) and without next of kin.

A list of estates that have been referred to the Treasury Solicitor can be viewed below. The list is updated monthly.

The Treasury Solicitor administers the estate of the deceased person and publishes such cases, including some of the details of the deceased person, on their website. All information that would be disclosed by the council in response to a Freedom of Information request regarding a deceased person is available from the Treasury Solicitor's website.

Under section 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, an exemption applies where disclosure would be likely to prejudice an investigation, such as those concerned with the prevention and detection of crime.

Disclosure of information on the assets of deceased individuals before steps have been taken by the Treasury Solicitor to secure these assets would provide an opportunity for criminal acts to be committed, including theft and identity fraud. It could interfere with the statutory function to collect bona vacantia (ownerless goods) vested in the Crown.

We do not provide information about the last known address of the deceased person on the basis that the information is exempt under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Disclosure of addresses may affect living individuals and contravene the first Data Protection Act principle, which requires that personal data be processed fairly and lawfully by the council. Living individuals currently residing at the address where the deceased person lived would not expect their personal data to be made available publicly without their consent.

Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides an absolute exemption where disclosure of personal data about individuals would contravene any of the principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Therefore there is no requirement to consider the public interest in disclosure.