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An autopsy (sometimes referred to as a ‘post-mortem’) is an examination of the physical body by a pathologist to establish the cause of death. The pathologist is likely to examine the major organs of the body and may take blood and/or tissue sample for analysis. Any samples removed from the body are governed by the Human Tissue Act and the next of kin will be consulted on when and whether these should be reunited with the body or appropriately and clinically disposed of.
No. The Coroner has absolute authority over whether to hold an autopsy or not and has a responsibility to the public interest to establish cause of death. The Coroner will listen to requests from the deceased’s family but must uphold the integrity of his Office.What will this cost me?
In most circumstances it is desirable for the family to liaise with their chosen funeral director in this respect. However sometimes it is necessary to see the deceased at the Coroner’s chapel. This must be arranged by appointment via the Coroner’s office.
Nothing. All matters instructed by the Coroner, including transportation of the deceased to the Coroner’s facility, any autopsy examination, care of the deceased while under the Coroner’s order, is paid from public funds and no charge will be made to the deceased’s Estate or family. This ceases once the Coroner has given clearance for the deceased to be removed from his mortuary facility. From this point onwards, including removal of the body from the mortuary facility and all funeral arrangements beyond, must be paid by private arrangement and will not be borne from public funds.
Funeral costs are usually borne in the following order: 1. By the deceased’s own Estate (bank savings, their home etc) 2. By a member of the family or a friend who agrees to take on the financial responsibility 3. Under some circumstances the Department of Work and Pensions will pay towards a funeral as a supplementary benefit. There are strict guidelines to who can apply for such a benefit and the application process can take some weeks. If successful, the amount provided, while substantial, is not intended to pay in full for a funeral; there will almost certainly be a balance to be paid privately. Applicants should liaise with their DWP office for more details. However, two simple parameters are that the Applicant MUST be on a qualifying benefit from the DWP already (or will qualify as a consequence of the death) and any Estate left by the deceased (possibly excluding the marital home if a dependant spouse continues to reside there) must be put towards the funeral costs. The Applicant must be deemed by the DWP to be the appropriate person to arrange the funeral and not simply one of convenience based upon their potential eligibility. 4. If all else fails the state provides in law that the local authority (council) for the area in which the death occurs must provide for a very simple cremation or burial. In such circumstances family and/or Executors must hand over all responsibility and rights to decision making to the relevant local authority (council). A very simple funeral will be arranged under the instruction of the local authority and the necessary costs borne from public funds. While simple, the funeral may be attended by mourners. Any Estate whatsoever left by the deceased (car, furniture, chattels) must be surrendered to the local authority.
These web pages are providing advice on behalf of the Coroner and are not intended to assist with funeral arrangements. This question should be asked of the family’s chosen funeral director.