Paying for funeral expenses from the estate

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Are you responsible for dealing with the estate of a loved one who’s passed away? Or are you paying for their funeral? Or both?

When it comes to organising the affairs of a family member who’s died there’s a lot to think about. To help you recover funeral expenses we explain how to pay for a funeral from an estate.

Can you pay for a funeral from the estate?

Yes, you may be able to. This will depend on a couple of things:

How to pay for a funeral from the estate

Claiming funeral expenses from an estate can take a long time. Sometimes the process can take months, maybe even a year. This means you and/or other family members may need to cover the cost of the funeral upfront.

Why does it take so long?

It’s because of the legal process that needs to take place before the estate of the person can be handled. If the person left a will this is called a grant of probate. And if they didn’t leave a will you’ll need a grant of letters of administration instead.

These legal documents give someone permission to deal with the affairs of the person who passed away. Only then can the person responsible (also known as the executor or administrator of the estate) deal with any debts or funeral expenses that need to be shared out to the right people.

Claiming back funeral costs

If you paid for the funeral and you’re the executor or administrator, claiming funeral expenses from the estate will be straightforward. You’ll basically be responsible for making sure you get that money for yourself. You’ll also have an idea of what amount you’ll be able to get back.

But if you’ve paid for the funeral and you’re not the executor of the estate you may want to get in touch with them to see what costs will be covered. That way, you know whether or not you’ll be able to claim funeral expenses and how much you’ll be able to get back.

Is there another way to pay for the funeral?

Before you use the estate of the person who died to pay for the funeral make sure you check all your options.

Is there enough money in the person’s bank account to cover the funeral costs?

There’s no need for grant of probate or letters of administration for funds to be released from the person’s bank account. As long as the account only belonged to the person who passed away and was not a joint account it’s possible to use this money to pay for the funeral. But in most cases the bank will need to see the death certificate and an invoice from the funeral directors. Or they’ll pay the funeral director directly instead of releasing the money to you.

Is it possible the person who passed away organised a pre-paid funeral plan?

If you’ve already looked for receipts and documents related to a funeral plan check with other close family members. They may have talked to the person about it or helped them organise a funeral plan. If you still can’t find details of a funeral plan use a funeral plan tracing service to see if you can track it down.

Did they have life insurance that could help cover costs?

A life insurance policy could cover the cost of their funeral and help you with other costs too. If you’re responsible for handling the person’s finances the quickest way to find out if they had a life insurance policy is to find their policy documents. But if you haven’t found anything check their bank statements for regular payments to an insurance provider. This could be monthly or yearly payments. This will help you find the right insurance provider and get in touch with them to figure out next steps. Don’t forget to contact their workplace too. Some employers offer death in service payments that could help you cover the funeral costs.

Are you entitled to benefits or grants to help you pay for the funeral?

Read our guidance on how to get help with funeral costs. You may be eligible for financial help from the government or even get some help from charities depending on your circumstances.

 

Struggling to manage the finances and handle the estate? You may want to get some help from a specialist solicitor. They’ll help you break everything down so that you know what to pay and when you’ll need to pay it. They’ll also handle a lot of the leg work for you so that you can spend more time remembering and celebrating the life of your loved one.

 

Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

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Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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What is a Direct Cremation?

A Direct Cremation is an alternative to the traditional funeral. This involves the cremation of the deceased without a funeral service. A Direct Cremation is generally the most economic option because costs of the coffin, preparation of the body, funeral service and expensive transportation are not included. However, many people choose Direct Cremations for reasons other than expense, for example:

  • - Wanting to have a memorial at a different time to the cremation
  • - Expressed desire from the deceased to not have a ceremony
  • - Individuals with relatives who face big physical or geographical challenges in coming together for a ceremony

The prices quoted for Direct Cremations include:

  • All charges, meetings and paperwork for the cremation
  • Collection of deceased and care prior to cremation
  • A simple coffin and urn for the ashes
  • Cremation fees and delivery of ashes to the family
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Attended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees for an Attended Funeral, which is where family and friends have a ceremony or service for the deceased person at the same time as they attend their burial or cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Taking care of all necessary legal and administrative arrangements
  • Collecting and transporting the deceased person from the place of death (normally within 15 miles of the funeral director’s premises) into the funeral director’s care
  • Care of the deceased person before the funeral in appropriate facilities.
  • Providing a suitable coffin
  • Optional viewing of the deceased person for family and friends, by appointment with the funeral director
  • At a date and time you agree with the funeral director, taking the deceased person direct to the agreed cemetery or crematorium (normally within 20 miles of the funeral director’s premises) in a hearse or other appropriate vehicle

In addition to the Funeral Director’s fee, there will be third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements) to cover the other aspects of a funeral (such as the crematorium or burial fees). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to provide these for you.

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Unattended funeral

This is Funeral Choice’s best estimate of this Funeral Director’s fees and the crematorium fee for an Unattended Funeral, which is where family and friends may choose to have a ceremony, event or service for the deceased person, but they do not attend the burial or cremation itself. This is also known as a Direct Cremation.

This price includes the following:

  • Funeral Director's fees
  • Crematorium fee (for an unattended funeral) as selected by the Funeral Director

In addition to this fee, there might be additional third party costs to consider (sometimes called disbursements). Your chosen Funeral Director will be able to explain these for you.

If you wish to attend the funeral, you should view the “Attended Funeral” price instead.

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Why is this price Estimated?

We work hard to ensure the Funeral Director Fees we display are accurate and up to date. However, unlike with our partners, we cannot guarantee this price is correct today.

Funeral Director fees

The price quoted contains the Funeral Director fees for a simple funeral. This includes:

  • Funeral Director fees for meetings, paperwork and running the funeral
  • Collection of the deceased and care prior to funeral
  • Hearse or appropriate vehicle for transport to the funeral
  • Basic coffin

The Funeral Director fees quoted do not include third party costs (often called disbursements). The Funeral Director will guide you through your options. These costs are:

  • Cremation or burial fees
  • Medical certificate for cremation
  • Clergy or officiant fee for conducting the ceremony

In addition to the disbursements you may want to discuss optional costs with your Funeral Director - these could include:

  • Funeral flowers
  • Memorial (venue hire, catering etc)
  • Memorial headstone
  • Orders of service
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Funeral Choice charity donation

To redeem the £20 charity donation all you have to do is select the charity from the dropdown list in the Make Contact form. Once you have confirmed arrangements with that funeral director send us an email to info@yourfuneralchoice.com confirming the service has been arranged. After we receive this email we will make the donation to the chosen charity and confirm back to you.

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