Who pays for a funeral?
Please note, the Hobart Community Legal Service does not provide financial assistance for funeral expenses.
Families usually pay for funeral expenses. Sometimes the deceased will have funeral insurance. Funeral expenses can also be provided for in the will of the deceased. Alternatively, the costs will be covered by the estate of the deceased, whether solvent or insolvent, as prescribed in the Administration and Probate Act 1935 (Tas) and its Schedule II. Funeral expenses take priority over any of the debts or benefits that are to come out of a deceased estate.
The person who engages the services of the funeral home is responsible for paying for the funeral and associated expenses. This is because the contract for the funeral is between that person and the funeral home. It is important to ensure that there is either funeral insurance or a sufficient amount in the estate of the deceased to cover the funeral costs if you cannot pay the cost yourself.
Currently, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides an Essential Care Funeral Package. This can only be accessed if the relatives cannot claim the body or there is no family to do so. The DHHS will pay for a simple cremation if:
- a person’s estate cannot cover the cost of a funeral and the relative/s of the deceased are unable to pay for a funeral; or
- there is no one willing to claim the body.
This is not an assistance package for people on low incomes. The package does not include a burial service. It is only a cremation. For more information see the Coronial webpage.
Burial and cremation
There are a variety of options and it is a good idea to reach out to speak to people familiar with the funeral industry.
It is important to check a will before proceeding with funeral plans to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are followed in the way their body is to be treated. Sometimes a will sets out exactly how the deceased would like to be laid to rest. If a will is not discovered or read before the funeral it is possible that the funeral arrangements may have been contrary to the express wishes of the deceased. There are many things to consider in burial and cremation.
Emotional or financial distress
If you are under emotional and/or financial stress following the death of a loved one, it is best to contact Centrelink about what to do following a death.
Page last updated 13/08/2020