Public burials

'Bona Vacantia' is a legal term relating to the situation in which a person dies without leaving a will and there is no known next of kin to take ownership of the property and possessions (“the Estate”) belonging to that person. This is also known as dying intestate.

Bona Vacantia

'Bona Vacantia' is a legal term relating to the situation in which a person dies without leaving a will and there is no known next of kin to take ownership of the property and possessions (“the Estate”) belonging to that person. This is also known as dying intestate.

If we have information relating to such cases, we inform the Treasury Solicitor’s office for them to publish details on their website. This information includes the name, date of death and area of death of the deceased person.

We receive a large number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests about Bona Vacantia cases. To make it easier for you to find this information, we publish all the cases we refer to the Treasury Solicitor on this page.

All information we are able to disclose about these cases under the FOI Act is then made available on the Treasury Solicitor’s website. As such, our response to FOI requests for such information – under section 22 of the FOI Act – is to refer people to that page.

What information can the council provide?

The following information identifies deaths since 1 April 2012 (Financial Year), which we have referred to the Treasury Solicitor's Office:

Surname Date of death  Date passed to the Treasury 
Rooney  15 September 2012  31 December 2012
Owens  11 October 2012  Not sent
Whitfield  5 November 2012  Not sent
Unsworth  7 October 2013  Not sent
Jolley  1 October 2013  11 November 2013
Roberts  25 October 2013  Not sent
Wilson 4 November 2014 Not Sent
Renshaw 22 November 2014 Not sent
Foulger 21 January 2015 19 March 2015
Carney 9 February 2015 Not Sent
Williams 22 April 2015 8 May 2015
Watkinson 9 May 2015 Not sent
Haggart 29 May 2015 Not sent
Tait 22 May 2015 Not sent
Proudman 11 June 2015 Not sent
Lightfoot 26 June 2015 Not sent
Noone 2 December 2015 15 December 2015
Hambleton 27 April 2016 Not sent
Eden - Eserekumo 3 August 2016 Not sent
Godbold 11 October 2016 Not sent

Last updated: 26 January 2017. We will update this information every 3 months

We are not able to provide any further details than this.

Exemptions

Under section 31 (1) of the FOI Act, we will not publicly disclose details which could provide opportunities for criminal acts to be committed, such as theft and identity fraud.

Public Health Funerals

Under the Public Health (Control of Disease Act) Act 1984 when a resident passes away in the area outside of a hospital and there is no one else willing to pay, we will make the necessary arrangements for a public health funeral. We will try to locate surviving relatives or friends of the deceased and, in some cases, pass the responsibility on to them.

What costs the council can reclaim?

Under Section 46 Subsection (1) of the Public Health (Control Disease Act) 1984 the funeral costs are the first expenses claimed on any estate. We are entitled to collect any and all sums of money due to or belonging to the deceased and to sell any belongings of the deceased in order to help offset the costs of the funeral and expenses.

If, after we have deducted the funeral and associated costs:

  •  the remaining estate is over £500;
  •  there are no other bills outstanding; and
  •  there is no known next of kin

We will refer the remaining estate to the Treasury Solicitor in accordance with their guidelines for referring Bona Vacantia estates.

It is at this point we will make information public on this web page.