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Paying for a funeral

Paying for a funeral

It's worth making sure that there's enough money available to cover the cost of any funeral you may be responsible for arranging.

Responsibility for payment

If you arrange a funeral, you will be responsible for paying the bill, so first check where the money will come from and that there will be enough. Most funeral directors require payment before probate (the official proof that a will is valid) is granted, so it's worth considering how to pay for a funeral in advance, whether that amount of money will be readily available to you and the various ways the cost can be covered.

Costs to consider

Funeral and burial fees (such as the use of a chapel for a service, or the actual charge for burying the deceased) vary depending on your local authority. You can find out the fees in Chesterfield using the link below.

The costs for additional services – such as providing a coffin and care of the deceased person before the funeral – are payable to the funeral director. These costs can vary considerably from one funeral director to another, so it is useful to get more than one quote and compare costs and services. Funeral directors should be able to provide detailed price lists for you to take away.

The disbursement fees that funeral directors refer to are charges they make on behalf of others – for example, for doctor's certificates, a minister, newspaper announcements, flowers, or the crematorium. You can ask the funeral director for a written quotation explaining all of these fees.

How to pay

Funeral costs can be paid in different ways, including:

  • with money from the deceased's estate
  • by any funeral scheme the deceased was paying into, or their pre-paid funeral plan – you'll need to check their paperwork to see if a plan exists
  • with any payout from a life insurance policy or pension scheme

The bank account of the person who has died will be frozen (unless it is a joint account). In some cases, the bank or building society may agree to release funds to pay for funeral costs, although they are not obliged to do this until probate is granted. If they don't release funds, you or the executor may need to pay and then recover the money from the estate later.

Help with costs if you're on a low income

If you are finding it difficult to pay for a funeral that you have to arrange, you may be able to get a Social Fund Funeral Payment from the Benefits Agency, if you or your partner receives one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit (or the Council Tax payer where you live gets a Second Adult Rebate because you are on a low income)
  • Working Tax Credit which includes a disability or severe disability element
  • Child Tax Credit at a rate higher than the family element

If you get a Funeral Payment, it will have to be paid back from any estate of the deceased person

The estate means any money, property and other things like insurance policies that the deceased owned. A house or personal possessions that are left to a widow, widower, or surviving civil partner are not counted as part of the estate.

There is more information in the DirectGov Funeral Payments article linked below.

If you can't get other help

If no one is able or willing to arrange and pay for the funeral, the council (or in some cases the NHS trust, where the deceased died in hospital) may do so, but only where the funeral has not already been arranged. The council may also make a claim on the deceased's estate to pay for the funeral.

Last updated on 19 January 2016