This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on death. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs. Related information can be found under burial and cremation, coroners and registration of births, deaths and marriages.

Standard Notes

02.10.2014Missing persons and the presumption of death
A missing person may be reported to the police. In addition, a number of organisations offer assistance in searching for a missing person.
10.09.2014Arranging and paying for a funeral
Reasonable funeral expenses are payable out of the deceased's estate in priority to the payment of any unsecured debts or liabilities. Anyone who arranges the funeral will generally be responsible for paying the funeral directors, so it is important to establish where the money will come from, especially if there is insufficient property in the deceased's estate to pay for the funeral.
09.04.2014Challenging coroners'decisions
There is no right of appeal from an inquest. However, a coroner's decision or the outcome of an inquest can sometimes be challenged by way of an application under section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 or an application for judicial review.
01.04.2014Coroners' investigations and inquests
Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (the 2009 Act), which was largely implemented in July 2013, repealed and replaced most of the Coroners Act 1988. The 2009 Act has introduced a new concept of the coroner's 'investigation' into a death.
01.11.2013Social Fund Funeral Payments
Payments from the Social Fund can be made to claimants of means-tested benefits and tax credits to help meet the costs of a funeral. Payments are made from the regulated Social Fund and, as such, are not limited by budgetary constraints. Over 35,000 payments were made in Great Britain in 2012-13, at a total cost of 43 million. The average award in 2012-13 was 1,225.

Research Papers

18.01.2011Estates of Deceased Persons (Forfeiture Rule and Law of Succession) Bill
The Estates of Deceased Persons (Forfeiture Rule and Law of Succession) Bill is a Private Member's Bill introduced by Greg Knight under the ballot procedure. The Ministry of Justice has indicated to Greg Knight that it will support the Bill and has assisted with drafting the Bill and the Explanatory Notes. The Bill would protect the inheritance rights of the descendants of people who have: forfeited their inheritance by killing the deceased; or decided not to accept their own inheritance. It would give general effect to the recommendations of the Law Commission in its 2005 report, The Forfeiture Rule and the Law of Succession, which were accepted by the Labour Government in 2006. Similar provisions to those contained in the Bill were included in the Draft Civil Law Reform Bill which the Labour Government published in December 2009. The Coalition Government is not proceeding with that draft Bill.
14.01.2009Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. This edition of Social Indicators includes an article from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, Washington , D.C.. This edition includes: Social background of the United States Congress 2009 Local authority finance in a recession 2011 UK Census of Population Underage drinking Excess winter mortality
07.05.1999Northern Ireland (Location of Victims Remains) Bill (Bill 92 1998/99)
Northern Ireland (Location of Victims' Remains) Bill. (Bill 92 of 1998/99). House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/49.

Early Day Motions

That this House notes with deep concern the worsening crisis for elderly care as growing numbers of local authority and private care homes face closure; acknowledges concerns that the ...
That this House condemns the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Pakistani Minister for Minorities, who was the only Christian in the cabinet; notes that this comes only days after ...
That this House notes that according to the Minister of Health, NHS organisations have a legal responsibility under the Data Protection Act to retain records safely and for a prescribed ...
That this House notes with dismay the recent decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute any individual doctor, nurse or manager for unlawful killing at Gosport War Memorial ...
That this House notes the public interest and disquiet over the case of Ian Tomlinson and the threat to public trust and confidence in the police that this case poses; further notes ...

POST Papers

08.10.2014Palliative and End of Life Care
This POSTnote provides an overview of palliative care and its key components, approaches to managing and standardising care and key challenges to providing high quality care.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses