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How do I pay for the funeral?

You, or other family members, may be willing to pay the funeral expenses, on the basis that you will claim repayment from the estate later. However, there are other ways of paying for the funeral:

  • Look through the papers of the person who has died for anything relating to a pre-paid funeral plan. If you find that the person subscribed to a plan, contact the provider and follow the procedure it recommends.
  • A bank where the person who has died had an account may be prepared to release money from the account. The bank “freezes” an account when it learns about the account-holder’s death, making no further payments out. However it may make an exception for funeral expenses. Contact the bank to ask whether it will release money to pay for the funeral.
  • Look through the papers of the person who has died for anything relating to life insurance or pensions and contact the providers. If the person had a job at the time of the death, contact the employer’s HR department. Lump sum payments can often be made from life insurance policies and pension schemes very soon after a death. However, you should, if possible, consult the solicitors advising the personal representatives before using lump sums of this type to pay funeral expenses: there may be a more tax-efficient way to use the money.
  • If you are arranging a funeral for a partner or close relative and you are on a low income, you may be able to get a funeral payment from the Social Fund. You may have to repay some or all of it from the estate of the person who has died. For more information, visit

A comprehensive article on this and related issues can be found here on our website by following this link.

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