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How to pay for a funeral and help with funeral costs

Author : Jessica Hanson

Date Published : 12/17/2018 2:30:08 PM

If you are arranging a funeral for a loved one, you will be responsible for paying the funeral expenses. There are various ways you can pay for a funeral, including benefits to help with funeral costs.

Pre-paid funeral plan

If your loved one had bought a pre-paid funeral plan, key elements of the funeral will already be paid for. An Avalon funeral plan covers the cost of the Funeral Director fees in advance, as well as providing an allowance for third-party costs, such as cremation fees, depending on the type of plan they chose.

If you have the funeral plan documentation, this should tell you what is covered and the nominated Funeral Director who will take care of the arrangements.

The estate

You can use the bank credit balance of the person who has died to pay for certain expenses. This includes:

  • Funeral expenses, payable to the Funeral Director
  • Inheritance Tax, payable to HM Revenue & Customs
  • Probate fees, payable to HM Courts Service
  • Confirmation fees, payable to the Scottish Court Service

You may also be able to claim back the funeral expenses from your loved one’s estate after it has gone through probate. However, be aware that this process can take months, or even years if the estate is complicated with many different assets.

The Social Fund Funeral Payment

Also called the Funeral Expenses Payment, the Funeral Payment can help with funeral costs if you are receiving certain benefits. This includes income support, jobseeker’s allowance and pension credit. You can check eligibility criteria online.

How much you receive depends on circumstances including how much money is available from other sources such as insurance policies and the estate.

Depending on your circumstances, the Funeral Payment can help with the cost of the following:

  • Burial fees and cremation fees
  • Travel to arrange and attend the funeral
  • Transporting your loved one within the UK, if the distance is over 50 miles
  • Death certificates and other documents
  • Up to £700 for other funeral expenses, such as Funeral Director fees, funeral flowers and a coffin
  • If your loved one had a funeral plan, up to £120 to help pay for extras

Be aware that the Social Fund Funeral Payment usually is not enough to cover all of the costs of a funeral.

Bereavement Support Payment

You may be eligible to receive this Government benefit if your spouse or civil partner has passed away. They must have paid National Insurance contributions for at least 25 weeks, or have died because of an accident or disease caused by work.

In addition, when they died you must have been under State Pension age and living in the UK (or a country that pays bereavement benefits). You cannot claim the payment if you are in prison.

The Bereavement Support Payment consists of an initial lump sum and then up to 18 monthly payments. The amount you receive depends on if you have dependent children:

  • If you do have dependent children, you will receive a lump sum of £3,500 and then monthly payments of £350 for 18 months.
  • If you do not have dependent children, you will receive a lump sum of £2,500 and then monthly payments of £100 for 18 months.

If you receive other benefits, you must tell your benefits office when you start receiving the Bereavement Support Payment.

Budgeting Loans

If you have been receiving certain benefits for more than six months, you may be eligible for a budgeting loan. These loans are interest free.

The lowest amount you can borrow is £100, but you could get up to £812 if you or your partner claims Child Benefit. How much you receive depends on how much savings you have and if you are already paying back an existing budgeting loan.

Find out more about how to apply for a budgeting loan.