Paying for a funeral
The person who arranges the funeral is responsible for paying the final bill and it is important to know where the money for the funeral will come from. The funeral director will understand if you are anxious about this and it will be helpful to you and the funeral director if you explain your concerns very early in your discussions with them.
The deceased may have taken out a pre-paid funeral plan, paying for their funeral in advance. It is important to check their personal papers to see if they had a plan and follow the instructions on it. If they did, this will usually cover the whole cost of the funeral. Similarly, if the deceased had reserved or arranged payment for a plot in a cemetery it is important to give this information to the funeral director as soon as possible. Alternatively, the deceased may have had an insurance policy to cover funeral costs.
If there is no funeral plan, the cost of the funeral will normally be met out of any money left by the deceased and, where money has been left, the funeral bill has the highest priority of all debts except for secured loans (such as a mortgage).
Even if the bank account of the deceased has been frozen following the death it may be possible to have funds released from a bank, building society or national savings account on showing the death certificate and funeral invoice.
Sometimes relatives may need to borrow money until the money and property are sorted out and some funeral directors will allow payment to be delayed until this has happened. Many funeral directors will require a deposit before the funeral to at least cover the costs of the disbursements which they have to pay to third parties. The reason for asking for deposits is that unfortunately many funeral directors have had experience of families ordering expensive funerals but not being able to pay for them, leaving the funeral director responsible for paying the fees of the cemetery or crematorium for example.