It is important to understand who is responsible for paying the funeral costs.
The person who signs the ‘legal contract’ with a funeral home for the funeral proceedings to take place, is the responsible person. It is important to understand that the person signing the contract with the funeral home, does not necessarily have to be the Executor or Administrator of the will, however they will be held accountable for the payment.
This is applicable regardless of informal agreements between family members to divide the costs, or pending insurance or Centrelink payments or monies from the deceased’s estate. As a general guide, most funeral directors require a deposit at the time of arranging the funeral, and full payment within twenty-one days of the date of the service.
If you are unsure who has the right to decide on the funeral arrangements, please see the section ‘Arranging a Funeral – Who has the right to decide on the funeral arrangements’ on our website for more information.
The deceased may already have entered into a pre-paid funeral arrangement with their designated funeral director, or purchased funeral insurance or a funeral bond. Please search for appropriate documentation amongst the deceased’s important papers.
Banks will usually allow payment of the funeral expenses from the bank account of the deceased person before the court grants probate of the will (or letters of administration where there is no will). The bank would ask for relevant documents, such as a funeral director’s tax invoice and possibly the doctor’s ‘Cause of Death Certificate’. They will either issue a cheque payable directly to the funeral service provider, or transfer funds directly into their bank account.
A person who pays for a funeral and then hopes to get the money back from the estate does not always get their money. If you need to arrange a funeral for someone with no Will, it would be wise to seek legal advice first.
If the deceased has not already arranged for a pre-paid funeral with a particular funeral director, or has not entered into a funeral insurance or funeral bond arrangement, and adequate funds might therefore not be available to pay for a suitable funeral, then there is a variety of financial institutions that can assist you.
Unsecured personal loans, usually up to a limit of $14,999 may be made available to you, depending on your financial circumstances. Please see the section ‘Funeral Loans’ on our website for more information.
If you are experiencing difficulty accessing the required funds to pay for a funeral, please use our Business Directory Search facility to locate ‘Funeral Loan’ providers that can assist you with a personal loan.
You also have the option of using your personal Superannuation to pay for a funeral or funeral related services, to assist immediate family members in times of need.
All Australian citizens or permanent residents with Superannuation are eligible, to financially assist their family.
For example, you can access a part of your Superannuation to pay for your Mother’s/Brother’s/Sister’s funeral etc, if they haven’t made sufficient prior financial arrangements – that is in the form of funeral insurance, a funeral bond, a pre-paid funeral (with their chosen funeral director), or from their savings etc.
You can apply directly to your Superannuation Fund to be assessed for early access to your Superannuation funds, although this may result in a lengthy and complex assessment period.
There are companies who provide a complete service of professional know how, guidance and efficient processing to ensure that your funds are available in the shortest possible time-frame, if you aren’t comfortable or don’t have the time to complete these often complex assessment forms and procedures. Please see the ‘Our Partners’ section on our Home Page for businesses that can assist you with early access to your Superannuation funds.