Support to pay for a funeral
When someone dies, the individuals planning the funeral are responsible for paying for it. This can be difficult if people do not have much money to spare. When the individual who has died has made a provision for their funeral within their estate, it may take some time for this money to be released.
If you are responsible for arranging the funeral, are on a low income, and the person who has died has little funds in their estate to pay for the funeral, you may be eligible for a Funeral Payment to cover some aspects of the cost. These payments are made through the social fund and may cover the costs of any third party charges (crematorium fee, Doctors fees, Celebrant fee) and the services of a funeral director of up to £700. It is important to know that this support may not cover the full cost of a funeral, but the contribution will nevertheless be invaluable. For further information, please visit www.gov.uk/funeral-payments or contact us for support.
You won’t get a definite decision on your application until after the funeral, so it is important that you carefully check beforehand whether you meet the criteria for funding. You should be aware that, no matter how any funeral is paid, we require all third party costs to be paid for in advance of the funeral, but it should be noted that the DWP will not pay this before the funeral takes place.
If you don’t qualify for the Funeral Payment, you may be able to get a Budgeted Loan from the Social Fund. In some circumstances the council may arrange a Public Welfare Fund, although they may seek the costs back from the estate. For more information, please contact your local council.
There are also voluntary and private organisations who provide information and guidance on how to access any financial support. One example of such an organisation can be found at www.funeralfundingservice.co.uk.
Who to tell about the death
There can be a wide range of organisations who must be informed that the individual has died, and if there is an executor then they are likely to take on this task. The tax office should be informed as soon as possible, and you can use the local “Tell Us Once” service to inform several government departments in one go. This service can be accessed when you register the death.
The Office of the Public Guardian may need to be informed (if there was a Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney in place) and you may need to contact organisations such as occupational pension schemes, insurance companies, banks, utility companies, GPs, dentists etc.
You may also wish to register the name of the individual with the Bereavement Register as this tries to stop post being sent to people who have died. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any assistance as we will be able to provide basic guidance or signpost you if you require more expert assistance.