Paying for a Funeral

Funerals can be expensive. If no money has been put aside to cover expenses and the value of the estate left behind is low, finding the money to meet funeral expenses can be a burden. See our funeral expense calculator to try and detail your costs.

If you have to meet funeral expenses then first check the will to see who the executor is and if any financial provision has been made for the funeral. You should then check if there were any pre-paid funeral plans, insurance policies, pension schemes or bank/building society accounts. Banks and building societies may release funds to cover a funeral on production of a death certificate.

If the deceased died whilst in service at work and was part of a pension scheme, there are often options to take a lump sum to cover funeral expenses.

It is a good idea to get quotes from at least two different funeral directors to compare costs. Funeral directors are quite used to different financial circumstances and can help guide you towards affordable choices. The price range of coffins and headstones varies tremendously and you may be able to keep costs down by choosing a simpler design.

If you are arranging the funeral and are claiming social security benefits such as income support, council tax benefit, jobseekers allowance, working families tax credits or disabled person's tax credits you may be entitled to help towards the cost of the funeral. This is called a Funeral Payment. It is a £2000 tax free lump sum; if there is any money in the estate the funeral payment will be repaid from this (this does not include any personal belongings that have been left).

If there are no relatives and no arrangements have been made then the local council has a duty to bury or cremate a person who died in their area. The cost of the funeral is recovered from the deceased’s estate.