What happens if you can’t pay for a funeral?

coffin with flowers on top

What to do if you can’t afford a funeral

If you can’t afford to pay for a funeral, there are ways you can get help. While a council-funded funeral is one option, there are other ways you can get support too. Here are some of the most common options.

Ask about a council-funded funeral

If someone dies with no family, or if their family can’t afford to pay for a funeral, the local council can organise one. This is known as a public health funeral and is a respectful but simple service.

What you need to know about a public health funeral:

Before the council will organise the funeral, you’ll need to prove that you can’t pay for the funeral in any other way.

Learn more about public health funerals.

Alternatives to a public health funeral

If you haven’t checked already, consider the options below before committing to a public health funeral.

Find out if you can claim a grant

You might be able to get a grant to cover part or all of the funeral costs.

Check if the person who died left money to cover the costs

The person who died may have left money or a plan to cover the costs. Things to check for:

Ask about paying in instalments

If you don’t have all the money to pay for the funeral right now, but know that you will in the future, it’s worth asking the funeral director if you can pay in instalments. Make sure you ask early in the funeral planning process, as not all funeral directors offer this option. However, if they do, it can help you spread the cost. Only choose this option if you’re confident you’ll be able to make all the payments.

Getting more help

If you’re struggling to understand your options and need more help you can contact one of these organisations: