The recent high profile case of 104 year old Daisy Staines, who died in a care home in Essex and had no known next of kin to attend her funeral, highlights the increasing prevalence of people outliving their immediate relations.
Mrs. Staines, who never had any children, is the latest in a growing number of people who die without any known living relatives. Research by Sheffield Hallam University has shown that two percent of over 65s die without any family and by 2030, two million people will be over 65 without adult children.
In Daisy’s case, an appeal by the care home to find relatives resulted in well-known professional probate genealogists, Finders International, stepping in to identify relatives in time to attend her funeral. Finders International also worked on the case of World War Two veteran James Douglas Knowles, 91, who passed away at Eastbourne District General Hospital in 2017, following an appeal by a local clergyman. Again the team successfully located relatives of Mr Knowles.
In both cases next of kin of the deceased, albeit distant relatives, were located within a 48 hour period. This ‘tracing next of kin service’ is provided for free to nursing homes, care and residential homes as well as NHS Trusts when a resident or an inpatient dies and there is no known next of kin.
Danny Curran, Founder of Finders International, said: “We have worked on numerous cases for Trusts and nursing homes wishing to establish if there are any next of kin. The main advice when someone dies in care or a hospital with no known next of kin is firstly to search personal belongings, to look for a will or any documentation, check medical records, admission documentation and speak to friends of the deceased, where appropriate, to enquire about next of kin.
“If none of this bears fruit, it is worth contacting a professional probate genealogist firm, who can, in most cases, locate next of kin relatively quickly.”
There is a charitable funeral fund set up by Finders International to assist with financing public health funerals. For more information on this free service and the funeral fund visit: www.findersinternational.co.uk