Funerals can be very expensive and come at a time when you could really do without any financial strain. There are a few things you can do to relieve the financial burden:
Paying from your loved one’s estate
The first step is to find out whether your loved one had any funeral plans, money or funding that may help with the costs of the funeral.
If your loved one had a funeral plan, they may have spoken to you or close family and friends about their plans, or they may have included the information in their will. If you are unsure if your loved one had a funeral plan you will usually find paperwork relating to the funeral plan within their possessions. If you are unable to find any information regarding a plan, you can check the Funeral Planning Authority’s website, who are able to check if your loved one had a funeral plan with one of their registered providers.
If your loved one had funds in their bank account, then most banks will release up to £5,000 for funeral costs when presented with an invoice. Please check with the individual's bank first.
If your loved one had enough funds in their estate to pay for their funeral, the expenses can be claimed back through probate. In simple terms the estate refers to the money and assets that they have left behind. The executor or administrator of the estate will need to apply for probate and speak to your loved one’s bank.
If you cannot cover the costs of the funeral from the estate or funeral plans, then there are other ways to get help.
At the moment, there are a couple of ways that the government can help with paying for a funeral. The Department of Work and Pensions can contribute to funeral costs via:
- Funeral Expenses Payment – – this is a one-off grant from the government and is designed to help people on specific benefits to help pay for a funeral. This covers the costs of the creation or burial, travel, and paperwork. You can also get up to an additional £1,000 to help pay for Funeral Director fees, flowers or the coffin. You will need to be a close relative, partner or parent of the person who has died to apply for this. This payment will not usually cover all of the costs of the funeral. You need to be on certain benefits to be eligible for these payments, to see if you qualify, please click here.
- Bereavement Support Payment – Again, this is a one-off, tax-free payment and is given to the spouse/ civil partner of the deceased. It was initially brought in to help widowed partners adjust to the change in circumstance and loss of income. This can then be put towards the funeral cost. It is a payment of either £2,500 or £3,500. To see if you are eligible, please click here.
- Budgeting loan – A small interest-free loan provided by the government to help those on certain benefits. The re-payments are taken back out of your benefits over the course of 2 years, however if you stop receiving benefits you will need to arrange to pay another way. There are a few restrictions on this loan so to find out if you are eligible please click here.
Spread the costs
Some Funeral Directors can offer longer-term payment plans which help you spread the funeral cost over a certain amount of time so that you don’t have to stress about paying for the funeral straight away. When you are searching for funeral directors ask them about their funeral payment plans.
“ There are two ways that the government can help with funeral costs, so even if you are not on benefits, you can still be eligible”
There are a number of charities that offer financial aid to help with funeral costs. Turn2us can help you to find a charity that works specifically with people in your situation.
This is provided by the government and is an interest-free load to help those on certain benefits. The re-payments are then structured in a way to take back the money borrowed over two years from your benefit package.
More and more families are turning to online crowdfunding to help pay with funeral costs. You can set up an online profile that family and friends can view online and donate money towards your loved one’s funeral costs. This may seem like an odd way to pay for a funeral; however, people understand the high costs involved with arranging a funeral and are pleased to be able to do this small thing to help the family. It is quite common for people to ask for donations to charities instead of sending flowers, crowdfunding enables people to specifically help the grieving family. It can be a positive way to bring family and friends together and give your loved one the funeral you want.
Need help with Funeral Costs? See more about Funeral Finance here.
There are several other avenues for help financing a funeral, but not all of them come cheap such as funeral finance, crowdfunding or even taking the money out of the deceased's estate.