When a loved one dies, you are probably emotionally distraught, and not in the right frame of mind to be worrying about financial issues. However, someone has to make all the funeral arrangements, and this can be costly. Most funeral homes do not offer credit, so you need to be prepared for paying funeral expenses. Before choosing what type of funeral you want, and how the deceased will be cared for, take a day or so and do a bit of research. It could save you from having to pay out of your own pocket.
Insurance and Death Benefits
One of the first things to check is any life insurance policies the deceased may have. Contact his or her employer to find out if there was a policy through work. The HR department can send you a copy of what the insurance covers. Check all bank accounts for recurring payments to an insurance company. Do not think it is only for homeowner's or car insurance, often the payment will be for a bundle that includes life insurance. In addition, if your loved one was in the military, be sure to find out what benefits he or she has concerning a funeral and burial.
Assets that your loved one has may be used to pay for the funeral expenses. However, you will probably have to wait until after probate, and the distribution of everything before you can use them. The funeral home may be willing to make some type of arrangement with you if you can show proof that the money will be paid as soon as probate occurs. Then, talk with the lawyer or executor of the will, and have the expenses added on to the debts that must be paid before assets can be distributed among friends and family.
Check bank accounts again to see if there were any payments made to a funeral home or cemetery. Perhaps the deceased paid for the burial plot, or all or part of the funeral expenses. If you think this was done, but cannot find any paperwork, contact the local funeral homes and cemeteries. You can also contact the church your loved one attended to find out if any arrangements had been made.
Hopefully, your loved one will have all the necessary paperwork detailing what should be done in the case of his or her death. Unfortunately, if the death was sudden, and the person was young, it may not have been thought about, leaving you to make all the arrangements and figure out how to pay for everything. Even so, do your research. Just because there is no obvious paperwork doesn't mean there is no help available.