Helping pay for funeral expenses

Grieving the loss of a loved one is already one of the most stressful times in a person’s life without the additional burden of paying for their funeral expenses.

Thankfully, funeral expenses can be paid for from the estate. However, this can only be claimed after the probate process has finalised which could take up to a year.

This means that loved ones are left to find the money needed to pay for the funeral until the probate process concludes.

This can be a difficult sum of money to find. Especially when the average cost of a funeral in the UK in 2019 cost £3,986.

What are the options to help cover the costs of a funeral?

Firstly, executors of the estate or the deceased’s family or friends need to assess whether a funeral plan was purchased before death.

In this case, the funeral costs will be taken care by the policy provider.

The deceased may also have a life insurance policy which could have a clause, contributing towards the funeral.

If this is not the case, then the executor, family members or friends of the deceased will need to cover the costs in the short term. Whilst any bank account in the deceased’s sole name would freeze upon notification of death until the probate process is finalised, they frequently release funds for funerals.

If you are unable to pay for the funeral, many probate and funeral care providers offer services to cover the costs which are then recouped once a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration – the legal document permitting a named person to wind up the estate – have been authorised.

The government also offer a number of options to help low income earners. These include:

  • Funeral Expenses Payment – This option is open to people who claim a number of benefits. The amount offered will vary depending on the deceased’s estate and money available from loved ones. It is unlikely to cover all costs but will help towards funeral expenses.
  • Budgeting Loan – This option provides an interest free loan to cover funeral costs for those receiving certain benefits for more than 26 weeks. The money will then be repaid through a person’s benefits.
  • In the unfortunate event of a child under the age of eighteen dying, the government will now pay the majority of the costs on the family’s behalf. The Children’s Funeral Fund for England will pay burial and cremation fees and will contribute towards the cost of a coffin, helping to ensure grieving families are not burdened with financial distress.

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