Dargaville man's body lies in funeral home for seven months as next of kin cannot be found

The body of a Dargaville man, who died in hospital seven months ago, is still lying in a funeral home after his next of kin could not be found.

Estate planning company Perpetual Guardian are now looking to apply to the High Court to gain control of Thomas Brugman's body so he can have a proper farewell.

Executive Director of Davis Funerals Neil Little told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning his company sees about half a dozen of cases where a body remains unclaimed a year.

"It doesn't happen a lot but it does happen from time to time, as a business for us this situation comes up about six times a year but the circumstances are usually a little different," he said.

Mr Little says there is no law covering who is responsible for locating a person's next of kin if none can be found, but the onus usually falls on the funeral home.

Mr Brugman's case is a rare one Mr Little said, as normally cases where a next of kin cannot be found are ones which have been referred to the coroner and involve police in the location process.

The rest home where Mr Brugman had lived prior to his death, have no legal authority over the body, which is why Perpetual Guardian have stepped in to try and resolve the issue.

The case has prompted the Funeral Directors Association to call for a law change to make the process easier in the future.

A man's body being unclaimed for seven months has prompted the Funeral Directors Association to call for a law change. Source: Breakfast


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