Paying for a funeral

Funeral costs are normally met in one of two ways: either a pre-paid funeral plan exists or the funeral costs are met out of the proceeds of the deceased's estate.

Because it can take time to resolve issues like probate, you may have to negotiate with your funeral director to either defer payment until monies are received, or pay the funeral costs yourself and claim the money back from the estate.

Find the funeral plan

If you are aware that the person who has died contributed to a funeral plan it is vital you find it. Even if the plan hasn't been paid in full there is likely to be an amount in the fund to help significantly with the cost of the funeral.

What you should expect to pay for?

Once you have discussed the sort of funeral you would like the funeral director should provide you with a written quote. It should be broken down to include the sort of expenses listed below.

However you plan to meet the final costs of the funeral, you should expect to pay a deposit to the funeral director (unless a pre-paid funeral plan exists). This will go towards covering disbursements, that is, payments the funeral director makes to other businesses on your behalf.


Disbursements will typically include:

  • The minister or celebrant who officiated at the ceremony
  • Cremation forms
  • Memorial application forms
  • The florist
  • The organist
  • Newspaper notices


The funeral director's charges will also include:

  • Transport of the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home
  • Looking after the person who has died whilst in the funeral director's care, and preparing the deceased's body for the funeral
  • Crematorium, church or cemetery fees
  • The coffin or casket
  • Doctor's fees
  • Funeral cars and staff
  • Additional costs for such things such as repatriation, burial at sea, natural burials etc

The remaining cost will be to any venue where you served refreshments to mourners after the funeral.


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