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Who is responsible for arranging and paying for a funeral?

The people named in the deceased’s will as their executors (or, if the deceased didn’t make a will, their nearest relatives) are primarily responsible for arranging their funeral. The costs can be recouped out of the assets left behind by the deceased (their ‘estate’), however sometimes a person dies without leaving enough money to pay for the funeral. If this is the case then relatives would normally be expected to meet the costs.

The executors should check to see if the deceased had taken out a funeral plan. If so, you may be obliged to use particular funeral directors or to take a particular funeral ‘package’. You should also check whether they have a funeral or life insurance policy that will pay out for funeral costs, or a workplace or personal pension scheme that offers a lump sum payment towards funeral expenses.

In any case, the funeral director will give a quote which will include all the details included in the cost of the funeral so this should help you to budget.

It’s worth knowing that when a bank is notified of a customer’s death it may temporarily freeze their bank account. However, many banks are prepared to release funds to help pay for a funeral.

If you and the deceased’s relatives are all on low incomes and can’t afford to pay the cost of a funeral, then the government have what is known as “The Social Fund”, which can provide some money to go towards the costs.  However there are many qualifying criteria that must be met; you can find more information about this criteria from the Citizens Advice Bureau here.

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