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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.

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

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.

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

Estates referred to the Treasury Solicitor

The word 'estate' means everything a person owns at the time when they die, including their money, possessions and property.

If we've arranged somebody's funeral, where there is no will and no known next of kin, if there are still funds in their estate after funeral expenses have been paid, we'll refer the estate to the Treasury Solicitor.

The Treasury Solicitor looks after the estates of people who die 'intestate' (without leaving 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.

Freedom of Information requests

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 principle of the Data Protection Act 1998, 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.

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