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Victims of Crime

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are in place to prevent a person who has murdered their spouse organising the victim’s funeral in their position as next-of-kin. (76783)

I have been asked to reply.

There are no specific measures in place to prevent a person who has murdered their spouse organising the victim’s funeral.

Being next-of-kin does not create a right to organise someone’s funeral. A duty to dispose of a dead body is incumbent on the executors of the deceased. A court can refuse to issue a grant of representation to someone it considers unsuitable to be an executor or an administrator of the deceased’s estate. It is an offence to detain a body and to refuse to deliver it to the executors for burial.

Under the victim advocate scheme which is being piloted in five Crown courts, families of the victims of murder or manslaughter will be able to receive up to 15 hours of publicly funded personal and social legal advice from a lawyer, who will be able to advise on issues such as this, in addition to questions about access to the deceased’s property and their children’s belongings, residency orders, next of kin status as well as financial and benefits matters.