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National assistance funerals

National assistance funerals are arranged by the Local Authority under the Burial and Cremation (Scotland) Act 2016. These funerals are for people who have died and have no known relatives to arrange or pay for their funeral or have relatives, but who are unable to arrange or pay for their funeral.

In these circumstances Perth & Kinross Council will make arrangements for the funeral and, where possible, reclaim the costs incurred where there are funds or an estate. The funeral will be a cremation unless it is believed that the deceased would have wanted a burial e.g., for religious reasons.

What should I do before making contact?

Prior to contacting Perth & Kinross Council regarding a national assistance funeral, we would request that you first explore the following options available to families - these also allow the planning and organisation of the funeral to remain within your control:

  • The Funeral Support Payment - a benefit offered by the Scottish Government, which has replaced the UK Funeral Expenses Payment. The Funeral Support Payment helps pay for funeral costs if you live in Scotland. It can be paid either to you or the funeral director who's helping you plan the funeral.
  • Benevolent Funds - charitable funds, trusts and societies established by trades, professions, religious institutes, armed/civilian services, charities or members of local communities. They may be able to help you towards the cost of arranging a funeral.

Where you are not eligible for any of the above options, the council may be able to assist in arranging a National Assistance Funeral.

What team carries out this function?

National Assistance funerals are the responsibility of the Environmental Health team within Regulatory Services.

Who carries out the funerals?

Currently, Co-operative Funeral Care has the contract to provide a National Assistance funeral.

Who does Perth & Kinross Council tell?

The Council would not involve any genealogical company, probate specialist or genealogy firms or pass information to any other agency or private company. However, we will contact the NUHU (National Ultimus Haeres Unit) if a person dies without a Will or relative. In such an event the estate is claimed by the Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer on behalf of the Crown.

Freedom of Information Requests

The following information is not available from Perth & Kinross Council:

  • Name of deceased, maiden surnames and last known address 
  • Estates - no information has been referred or is due to be referred to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Ultimus Haeres Unit) as we were unaware of any assets or heritable estates associated with the funerals.

The Council considers this information to be exempt under Section 26(a) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. If you would like more information, please contact the FOI team by emailing Further information can be found on our Freedom of information page.

For more information on National Assistance Funerals, please contact our Environmental Health team by emailing or calling our Customer Service Centre on 01738 476476.

Last modified on 11 August 2023

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