Advice index

If someone has arranged to pay for their own funeral

There may be money to pay for the funeral from money the person has left behind (their ‘assets’) or through schemes and pensions that they paid into during their life.

After someone dies, their bank account is ‘frozen’, unless it is a joint account. You may be able to use part of their savings to pay for the funeral. The bank will ask you to provide certain documents, which usually include the death certificate.

You should check the person’s papers for a membership certificate of the Cremation Society, their life insurance policy or a funeral plan which has already been paid for. You should also look for letters from their past employers with details about any workplace pension scheme or personal pension. These might cover the cost of the funeral, and also provide other financial support for their surviving husband, wife or civil partner.

If the person was living in hospital or a residential care home, the hospital or home will hand over the person’s belongings to the nearest relative, or to the person who has written permission from whoever is dealing with the will. There may be a limit on the value of the belongings the hospital or home can hand over. This is set by the local council for the area.

With Grace