Deaths in Care Homes
Arranging a funeral for an ultimus haeres death
If the resident who has died in a Care Home has no Will (which might specify funeral wishes) and no known spouse, civil partner or blood relatives or none who can be easily traced (who can make funeral arrangements), the estate may fall to the Crown as Ultimus Haeres. In such instances, the National Ultimus Haeres Unit (NUHU) is responsible for investigation and subsequent reporting, if appropriate, to the King's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer Office (KLTR Office).
NUHU guidance for care homes
1. If the deceased resident had a pre-paid funeral bond, the Care Home Manager can organise the funeral in accordance with the instructions previously given by the resident to the bond holder.
2. If the deceased is believed to have sufficient funds for a private funeral, again the Care Home manager can organise it. However, the Manager must first check with NUHU that there are adequate funds before instructing the undertaker. (NB. A passbook may not disclose an accurate balance if it has not been updated for some time and Standing Orders etc. may have greatly reduced the funds originally available).
3. Once it has been established that the deceased's estate has sufficient funds, the Care Home Manager should ask a local undertaker to provide a written estimate for either a cremation or a burial, depending on any known wishes of the deceased. Once the estimate has been received and the Manager is sure that the estate can pay the cost, the funeral can go ahead. (On average, a private cremation will cost from £1,800 plus VAT. Buying a new lair for a burial will obviously cost more.) The estate can, if it has the funds, meet the cost of one suitable floral tribute. No other expenses should be incurred without prior authorisation from NUHU.
4. It may be Bank or Building Society policy to request a copy of the undertaker's invoice and to make payment directly to him from the account held for the deceased. NUHU has no objection to this practice but it does vary between different Banks or Societies. It is in order to leave the undertaker's account to be settled by the KLTR Office after funds have been ingathered.
5. If the resident had his or her Care Home charges paid by the Local Authority, there may not be any funds available to pay for a private funeral. In such a case, the Manager should contact the Local Authority and request a funeral in accordance with the Authority's duties under the National Assistance Act 1948. The the cost of such a funeral is approximately £600. It will be organised by the Local Authority. If sufficient funds are later collected by the KLTR Office, they will be used to repay the Local Authority for this expense.
6. If after investigation there is a UH estate NUHU will report it to the KLTR Office.
7. The KLTR Office can, where there are sufficient funds, authorise purchase of a headstone. At least two written estimates will first have to be submitted to the KLTR Office for approval. Any such request should be submitted in writing along with the written estimates to the KLTR Office.
Contact details for the The National Ultimus Haeres Unit :
The National Ultimus Haeres Unit
Procurator Fiscal Office
3/5 Almada Street
Telephone Number: 0300 0204196* or 0141 420 8804
* Please note our new 0300 telephone number. Our 0844 numbers are changing to a 0300 number to reduce the cost of your call. 0844 numbers cannot be used after 29 September 2017.